On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the NCAA should not pay athletes $5,000 per year. As a former collegiate athlete who has written extensively about this topic, I'm just going to be honest by saying that I agree with them. If every athlete got paid $5,000 per year in college, that would definitely provide an overwhelming burden on the financial state of these schools.
However, the reality is that we are living in a capitalist society. This is the justification for why coaches of these teams make millions of dollars, sometimes even being the highest-paid employees in their entire state. This is why CEOs of major corporations make hundreds of times more than the average employee.
Considering that we live in this capitalist society, why can't athletes at least have the right to make money off their own likeness? Athletes in other countries are able to make money at 16, 17, or 18 years old from their sport. But we in America have decided that athletes can't make a dime from their sport while they are in college.
A socialist society would say to give everybody the same amount of money, no matter their skill level. But that's not America. We hate socialism because it's not the capitalist mindset of hustling and making money for yourself.
But doesn't the NCAA have a socialist mindset? If all athletes are the same, then why do some jerseys sell thousands while some sell none? The American mindset is about realizing that certain athletes are better than others. Embracing this concept, how about we let the star player sign a few autographs, or encourage them to make $1,000 over the summer by doing some speaking engagements?
I knew a friend this summer who won a dunk competition in New York City. The payout was $20 to the winner, but he couldn't take it because he would be violating NCAA regulations. Why we are still even arguing that a player can't make $20 from their athletic achievements while in college is unbelievable.
The fact that we are talking about this topic though, is a step in the right direction. As Donald Trump said when he jumped into the presidential race and got everyone stirred up, "If I didn't bring up the idea of building a wall across the border, we wouldn't even be talking about immigration."
I guess at this point all we can do is just keep the conversation running. Maybe eventually we will figure out that it's okay for a player to make $50 from the sale of their own jersey or a photo of them gracing the cover of a magazine. NCAA, we're not looking for our athletes to make millions of dollars off of you, just to get what's rightfully theirs.
This is America, a capitalist society from day one. Let's start acting the part.