The NCAA v. SCOTUS: Will Paying College Athletes Help Students Save? 

Photo Courtesy: [Joe Cristensen/Getty Images]

Many of us like college sports because of the romanticized notion of athletes playing a game they’re passionate about. Student-athletes taking time out of their full-time class schedules to put 40+ hours a week into their sport is certainly an inspiring display of that kind of dedication. But that “pure” idea quickly goes away when you see that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), broadcasters, clothing brands, and virtually everyone else involved in college sports are raking in money by profiting off these student-athletes.

As a business, the NCAA is worth trillions of dollars at this point. In 2019, the NCAA reported $18.3 billion in revenue. As it stands, the NCAA does pay over $3 billion per year in athletic scholarship, but is that enough? In looking at higher education at large, it doesn’t seem to extend that far.

Historically, collegiate athletes have been defined by what they can and cannot do. In some cases, they receive a free education or scholarships before potentially going pro. But for the 98% of athletes that go professional in something other than sports, the list of things NCAA athletes cannot do looms large, eclipsing not just their entire collegiate experience, but their finances, too.  

This goes beyond banning the practice of sports betting and a long list of banned substances. NCAA athletes cannot make money off of ticket sales to sold-out games, jersey sales, or the use of their likeness in video games that sell millions of copies. And the list goes on.

Now, in 2021, that policy is finally starting to change, thanks to the country’s highest court. There is still a long way to go, but as college sports become more equitable, we think that everyone will be saving money, not just athletes. Not sure what we mean? We’ll walk you through it.