The idea of allowing student-athletes to be paid for their efforts is hotly debated and litigated across America. Regardless of one’s feelings about compensation, there is one a part of the payment spectrum currently denied college athletes that few will deny is unjust – endorsement deals.
Just as Olympic athletes (the original amateurs) can trade on their fame to earn endorsement income, college athletes who have advertising value should be allowed to profit from endorsement deals. After all, the institutions themselves certainly understand the importance of promoting stars in hype videos and other advertising. Greg McGarity’s face will not be in the TV promos aired in the lead-up to Georgia’s opener with North Carolina; you will be invited to tune-in by Nick Chubb, Sony Michel or other athletes.
There is a problem looming in endorsement neverland. How does NCAA prevent a business owning booster from promising future endorsement deals to recruits in exchange for enrollment at Plains University (this fictitious name does not represent any real school, especially one located in east Alabama)? I’m confident that Nike founder and Oregon booster, Phil Knight would never use his power to sign an all-world high schooler to a lucrative endorsement deal contingent on the player’s becoming a Duck, aren’t you?
NCAA would have to set up some sort of review board to determine if endorsement deals were representative of free market values or throw up its collective (no socialist pun intended) hands and allow the market to self-regulate. Since the regulation itself would distort market value, a free-market operating within a framework of a set of ground rules is preferable. My guess is that bussinesses would pay far more than boosters and the fees would be a deductable business expense.
The Association might prohibit endorsements prior to the opening game of a student athlete’s freshman year. After that, relying on the market to establish value and regulate itself. A free market for endorsement services would allow legitimate businesses to bid for the services of athletes based on advertising budgets and perceived value of the endorsement.
Markets develop to facilitate almost all human wants and needs. When a specific activity is banned a black market develops. Could it be that lightly-regulated commerce in student-athlete endorsements would make the old $100 handshakes and bagmen obsolete?
Big East commissioner: NCAA considering paid endorsement deals for student-athletes