NIL could help get rid of pay disparities, and it’s time for NCAA to get it together

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UConn’s Paige Bueckers could command approximately $382,000 annually in name, image, and likeness fees, according to Axios.

UConn’s Paige Bueckers could command approximately $382,000 annually in name, image, and likeness fees, according to Axios.
Photo: Getty Images

It’s only a matter of time before college athletes get paid in some form or fashion.

The NCAA has been flirting with the idea of players receiving name, image, and likeness fees, but hasn’t been able to solidify anything.

Congress itself has even gotten involved and started to propose legislation that would allow athletes to be compensated. Student athletes deserve to be rewarded for the hard work that allows college institutions to thrive and profit to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. But many people don’t actually know what that price point should be or if there should even be one.

Would allowing athletes to benefit from the free market be more beneficial in the long run for the NCAA? Especially if it helped to eliminate some pay disparities between men and women athletes?

A recent report by Axios and Opendorse found that eight of the first 10 players with the largest social media followings in both the men’s and women’s Elite Eight were women. For the Gen X readers out there, that means they could be easily making money off their social feeds if they were allowed to by the NCAA.

Both Duke’s and UNC’s athletic director have already said they are not in favor of NIL. Likely, they want to hold on to a system that’s given them the upper hand on top-level athletes that have boosted their school. Some people believe that opening up the NIL floodgates could create more parity amongst the top powers in football and basketball because schools could allocate resources to getting the best players through endorsement deals.

Not only could the NIL help the gender pay gap, but it could also provide more money for athletes of color looking to break generational cycles in their families. Just think about what an athlete could do with $30,000 a year if they were also given education on how to make that money grow. NIL could even help the NCAA, especially in basketball where the top talent like LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton hoop overseas or go to the G-League for more bread.

Allowing NIL payments could be the difference between creating generational wealth for these athletes or continuing them to fall victim to the status quo.

It’s time for the NCAA, Congress, or whomever else to figure it out. Let these athletes get their bands and watch how life improves for everyone in the college game.

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