Why Can’t I Make Money Off My N.C.A.A. Career? | NYT Opinion

Why Can’t I Make Money Off My N.C.A.A. Career? | NYT Opinion

October 9, 2019 12 By Stanley Isaacs


My senior year my
routine went viral with over 100 million
views. “Amazing routine!”
“Best performer in the country!” Along with this came a lot of attention
and opportunities. But I couldn’t
capitalize on them. “One of the biggest stars
in collegiate gymnastics …” “Katelyn Ohashi …” I was handcuffed by the
N.C.A.A. rules that prevented me from deriving any benefit
from my own name and likeness regardless of the fact
that after my final meet I had no pro
league to join. The N.C.A.A. is a billion-
dollar industry built on the backs
of college athletes. How different would
things be for me had I been able
to use my image and name my last
year of school in order to promote
the things that I want to further my future? I want to make sure that
the next person doesn’t have to wonder. “And now there’s some big news
in California” “Gov. Gavin Newsom signed … ” “… their ‘Fair Pay to Play’ bill.”
“It allows college athletes to be paid for their name, their
image and their likeness.” “It’s going to set up
this huge showdown between the State
of California and the N.C.A.A.” “The N.C.A.A. will likely
challenge this in court.” The “Fair Pay to Play Act” is not about paying salaries
to college athletes. It’s about empowering student
athletes to rightfully earn off their individual name and
likeness without sacrificing the opportunity to
get an education. It’s about making sure
if a student-athlete’s jersey is still selling
in the bookstore 10 years after graduation,
that they get a cut. It’s about recognizing
that women only receive 4 percent of all
coverage in sports media, and giving us the freedom
to leverage sponsored deals to break through. It’s about treating
student athletes with the same respect as any
other student who can freely profit off their
talent as writers, artists, D.J.s,
programmers or scientists while in college. Critics say that
allowing student athletes to earn endorsement
income will come at the expense of Title
IX or nonrevenue-generating sports. But from experience, allowing
an athlete, especially women or Olympic sport
athletes who, for the most part are staying and graduating from N.C.A.A. institutions,
to take advantage of unexpected moments like
I had, empowers us to help finally earn what we deserve.