July 2023

If Government Spending in Ukraine Upsets You, so Should the NCAA's Misallocation of Athlete Pay

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image: Olemisssports, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tupac Shakur's timeless quote, "They got money for wars, but can't feed the poor" is still relevant and the lesson applicable to so much today.

This analogy is one that is inspired by The United States providing financial assistance to Ukraine's defense against Russia. Which has highlighted talking points around the issue of prioritization and allocation of resources.

Critics have often pointed out the massive amounts of money that the United States has seemingly pulled out of thin air funding Ukraine's defense, for bailouts, and Covid relief, while other things like food, shelter, health and reparations for civil atrocities against citizens don't seem to be as important and are ignored and hidden behind excuses.

Lane Kiffin was being paid millions after his firing from Alabama, and Colorado could somehow afford Deion Sanders' huge contract, despite not having the money for him to coach the athletes they refuse to pay?

Similarly, the inability to pay student athletes is often excused as being a financial issue, with schools not being able to "afford" to pay student athletes while simultaneously finding the money to pay coach salaries in the NCAA. This disparity brings to light a parallel injustice - the disregard for their rights and fair compensation despite generating substantial revenue for their institutions.

related: Capitalism for NCAA, Socialism for Athletes: Unveiling the NCAA's Double Standard

There's always a way to pay when the issue is important enough.

In the face of military and geopolitical expenditures that reach staggering figures, questions arise about the allocation of resources and how they are utilized. While supporting global security is crucial, the neglect of critical domestic issues, such as poverty and education, remains a pressing concern.

NCAA athletes often find themselves fighting for pay while institutions prioritize exorbitant coaching salaries and profits.

In many ways, student athletes serve as the backbone of the collegiate sports industry, attracting millions of fans and generating substantial revenue through televised games, merchandise sales, and sponsorships.

Despite this, these young athletes are denied the basic right to receive compensation for their contributions. NCAA regulations forbid student athletes from monetizing their name, image, and likeness, a restriction that has faced growing criticism in recent years.

related: Despite NIL, NCAA Athletes Still Facing Major Disparities

This exploitation of student athletes, who often struggle to balance rigorous academic schedules and intense training, stands in stark contrast to the immense profits their talents bring to the institutions they represent.

The juxtaposition of global priorities and the NCAA's treatment of student athletes exposes a shared problem - the misallocation of resources and power dynamics that prioritize profit over the well-being and rights of individuals.

If the vast spending in international affairs and support for foreign defense upsets you, it should also provoke outrage that NCAA athletes, who contribute significantly to the multibillion-dollar college sports industry, are deprived of fair compensation.

The issue of prioritization transcends national borders and extends to various facets of society, including sports. As we question the allocation of resources on a global scale, it is essential to remember the parallel struggle of NCAA athletes for their rights and fair compensation.

related: The NCAA Could Easily Pay Athletes By Accepting Jersey Sponsors

NCAA athletes could be paid, but the truth is it's just not important enough and too many people are getting rich for them to ever give anything up the easy way.

Issa Hall, Esq

Issa has founded multiple ventures, is an author, and founding partner of Hall & Dixon law firm, with over a decade of experience in tech and law.

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