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What If College Athletes Got Paid? 3 Questions Answered

Jasmine Harris

The California state legislature has approved a bill that allows college athletes to earn money through athletic endorsements starting in 2023. The governor hasn’t said whether he’ll sign the bill into law. Jasmine Harris, an expert on student athletes, addresses how the bill, known as “Fair Pay to Play Act,” would alter college athletics if it gets signed into law. Her edited comments are below.

1. The Fair Pay to Play Act mentions preventing the exploitation of student athletes. Just how are student athletes being exploited?

College athletics has become such a business that the exploitation is happening on multiple levels. It’s not just that the colleges are making money off of the student athlete.

Players are also prevented from generating any kind of compensation around their image or likeness while they’re in college, which – for many of them – is going to be the only time when their likeness or their image has any economic value at all.

Right now less than 2% of players end up going pro. And so you’ve got this entire industry that’s built on generating revenue off the athlete through ticket sales, sponsorship deals with apparel companies, and TV distribution deals.

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