College athletes continuing financial struggles without representation

A prime example of the NCAA only looking out for themselves

More stories from Parker Reed



Star UW-Madison basketball player Nigel Hayes is one player who has recognized and is standing up to the NCAA in regards to their economic hypocrisy.

Universities make millions of dollars on college athletics every year. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) makes even more. The athletes on the front lines generating that revenue, however, make nothing.

College athletes are not allowed to be paid monetarily or in resources. They are not allowed to sell autographs, make paid appearances or anything else that links their income to their individual sport. On top of that, they are not allowed to have representation (i.e. an agent).

All of these limitations placed on college students who struggle to make ends meet seems like a stark contrast to the luxury that the NCAA, and universities and general, are enjoying.

It is true that universities are not allowed to place an athlete’s face or name onto any piece of merchandising. This would be a direct infringement on their rights. Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop the universities from sneaking around this regulation when it comes to merchandising.

When Tim Tebow was the quarterback for the University of Florida Gators, his number was 15. Sure, the university couldn’t sell merchandise with the Heisman Trophy winner’s face on it, but they were definitely within their rights to sell licensed jerseys with his number 15 on them. All they had to do was omit his last name.

Anyone who has a casual knowledge of college football during this time period knows the jersey was meant to profit from Tebow, but the man himself couldn’t do a thing about it.

This is just one of the many examples of the NCAA and Division I universities toeing the line between good business and cheating their student athletes out of money. So in the current system, there has to be a way to make things more fair for the athletes.

The way by which to achieve a more balanced dynamic between the athletes and their institutions is to allow the athletes to hire an agent. The agent’s job would be to look out for athletes’ professional futures and ensure the student athletes are not being taken advantage of.

It seems like a simple fix, but the NCAA continues to enforce harsh regulations on athletes’ ability to hire management. As it stands currently, if a student athlete hires representation, that person immediately forfeits their eligibility for that sport.

This is the reason many star athletes don’t hire management until after they have already declared to leave the university and enter the professional league of a given sport. However, this leaves a huge plot hole for all of the athletes who don’t compete on a star caliber level.

What all of this boils down to is the economic despair that many college athletes live through, while the NCAA and their universities continue to profit off of their athletic success. How the notion of allowing student athletes to hire representation, or just flat out pay them, has never come up absolutely astounds me.

If professional sporting leagues are going to continue to require athletes to play at least one or two years at the college level before declaring for the pro leagues, then something needs to be done. Without these student athletes, the NCAA would not exist, and it is getting harder and harder to justify not allowing its athletes to be paid or have representation.
The time is now to either allow athletes to be paid and/or have representation, or look at other options to make sure these athletes are looked out for. If they don’t, the NCAA may be looking at a student-athlete financial crisis.