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  • Writer's pictureJack Mullaney

Paying Student-Athletes

While Name, Image, and Likeness legislation heads to Capitol Hill, it seems the days of preventing Student-Athletes from monetizing their talents will soon be over.

While many models have been proposed, I came across one the other day that I really like. It was an Opinion piece published in the New York Times by Roger Pielke Jr, an environmental studies professor at the University of Colorado. His idea is based on the way that professors make money from intellectual property created by university funded research.

Essentially, it would work like this: the athletics department at a university would help Student-Athletes seek, negotiate, and secure compensation deals for their name, image, and likeness. In return, the revenue would be split. Pielke offers a split of one-third to the Student-Athlete, one-third to the athletics department, and one-third to the school. I'd be more in favor of half to the Student-Athlete and half to the athletics department, but I think it results in a similar theme.

Both sides are incentivized by helping the Student-Athlete find deals. Rather than try to prevent them from making money, universities will want to help them make money, because they get a piece of the action. Further, I think this would settle the debate about whether or not Student-Athletes are already compensated enough based on the scholarship, gear, academic support, medical care, travel, and other amenities they receive, because only the individuals whose talents are valued on the open market would be compensated on top of that.

Would athletics departments need to create new positions to help facilitate this? Sure, but pay could be commission based.

Will the big schools have an advantage on this front? Sure, but I don't know that it would be more of an advantage than they already have.

In any case, from my point of view, it's a good idea.

What ends up actually happening is anyone's guess.

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