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Editorial: College Athletes Deserve Compensation

Playing collegiate sports and taking a full-time schedule is the equivalent of having two full-time jobs

During an online-only episode of “The Shop,” California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 206, or the Fair Pay to Play Act on Sept. 30.

Along with several other former college athletes, Newsom believes college athletes, especially Division I athletes, deserve compensation for their hard work and dedication to the game that makes their “bosses” rich.

“Colleges reap billions from student athletes but block them from earning a single dollar,” Newsom tweeted. “That’s a bankrupt model.”

Despite Humboldt State being a NCAA Division II program, we still agree that our athletes deserve some type of compensation based on the amount of revenue our athletic program brings in.

“The Shop” is a HBO talk show owned under the digital sports media company Uninterpreted. During the episode, Newsom was accompanied by NBA star LeBron James and they both shared the news on Twitter by posting a video snippet.

In a world that is so divided, sports can bring people together. Whether an athlete plays for a professional team or a college team, the support and compassion they receive from fans remains loyal.

In professional sports, athletes sign contracts with a team or an organization. When they sign, they are agreeing to the specific payment details they were offered or that they negotiated with their organization. For collegiate sports, college athletes are offered a scholarship breakdown and have the decision of accepting it or not.

However, anyone who is up to date with our budget crisis around campus knows that our athletic program probably receives close to no money to provide to our athletes. Especially considering that we still have athletes attending HSU out of pocket to participate in an intercollegiate sports.

HSU may not seem like a great example when pushing the idea that college athletes deserve compensation, but the Fair Pay to Play Act doesn’t allow athletes to be paid by their university, it just gives them the leeway to find sponsorship and make money off their hard work.

When we consider professional athletes, endorsement deals are contracted regularly. These deals allow companies to use athletes’ names, numbers and any other marketing facet that’s agreed upon, in exchange for money paid to the athlete. College athletes do not receive endorsement offers, but they still partake in similar marketing techniques that bring in revenue for their college and coaches.

The counterargument to this case states that college athletes are provided a scholarship that pays their tuition and resources that help them get through the academic portion of school.

Although this is true, many fail to realize the dedication and time commitment it takes to be a successful student-athlete. Being a student-athlete is essentially equivalent to holding two full-time jobs: studying and playing. This doesn’t leave time for a job off-campus to provide a steady source of income.

The fact that colleges and head coaches make money off their players’ successes is ludicrous, especially when the players themselves aren’t receiving any portion of that revenue. It is this exact argument that Newsom brought to light.

The proposed bill allows college athletes to receive a portion of the revenue that their college receives and sign endorsement deals like the pro athletes they aspire to be. Although the NCAA fought against the signing of this bill, Newsom stuck to his belief. He proposed providing the NCAA with a grace period to narrow down rules and regulations in hopes of making the transition smooth and effective. Therefore, the bill does not play any effect on college sports in California until Jan. 1, 2023.

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