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Should College Athletes Be Paid?

By Peri Kahn

Recently, Aquinas College freshman Chloe Mitchell became the first college athlete to profit off her name, image, and likeness. As a student athlete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athlete (NAIA), Chloe was able to economically benefit off her image, which came mainly from social media and brand partnerships.

Although few student athletes, such as Chloe, are being paid from their image and likeness, many are skeptical of what money could do to college sports and the athletes. Should college athlete be paid? Yes, or No?

College athletes should get paid based of their image and likeness, however there should be strict guidelines around the money these young adults earn. Furthermore, college athletes should not get a salary from the college they go to just for playing a sport.

Many college athletes have developed a following on social media, which leads to other opportunities like collaborations, sponsorships, and brand deals. Chloe Mitchell gained a large audience on TikTok, through her most popular “she shed” videos, where she turned a shed into relaxing girl cave. As a result, she began to get messages from companies asking for endorsement deals. Due to the rules of the NAIA, she was able to accept all of these opportunities that came to her and economically benefit from them.

However, there are many athletes, one being former University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) gymnast Katelyn Ohashi, who could not profit off her name, image and, likeness. During her senior year of college, Katelyn’s flour routing went viral on YouTube. As a result, she was booked for interviews on morning shows like Good Morning America and the Today Show. Unfortunately, Katelyn could not profit from her YouTube video or her interviews because she was an athlete in the NCAA not the NAIA, which have different rules that restrict student athletes from profiting off their name, image, and likeness. This was not fair because Katelyn had no control over her video going viral. If she was an ordinary person whose video went viral she would have been able to earn money. Plus, she is super talented so she should definitely be compensated. If athletes have the exposure and are skilled enough to gain a following they should be able to economically benefit if their jersey bought or their video is seen because they earned it through hard work and perseverance.

College athletes should not, however, be given a salary for playing at a certain school. If this were the case the whole concept of college sports would be ruined, and college sports would just turn into another professional league.

Even though all college athletes should be able to profit off their name, image, and likeness, there have to be strict guidelines around the money earned because money is the root of all evil. It is easy for young adults to get blinded by large amounts of money and lose sight of important values such as family, education, and friendship. For example, some may stop going to class or doing their work because the money makes them think they are set for life. So, the money earned should be regulated in some way. One way could be in an bank account that can’t be accessed until after that athlete graduated from college, to prohibit any reckless behavior and to keep the athlete focused on school and athletics.

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