Nike Can Help End University Athlete Exploitation By Not Supporting College Teams Until Players Are Paid

Written by Ann Brown

In a federal court case called “National Collegiate Athletic Association Grant-In-Aid Cap Antitrust Litigation” a ruling on March 8, 2019, read that college football and basketball players could receive more payment than they do now, but the money had to be limited to education-related expenses such as postgraduate scholarships and computers.

“More than 40,000 current and former college athletes joined the class-action lawsuit calling for athletic conferences to be able to set their own rules about compensating athletes beyond the price of their education,” ABC reported.

While most observers say the case will most likely be appealed, it begs the question should college athletes be paid?

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Athletes should be paid more and sports brands such as Nike should lead the way, said David Grenardo, a former college athlete who has since become a law professor at St. Mary’s University School of Law.

Sports brands make millions on sponsoring college athletics yet, noted Grenado, have remained silent on this issue.

“College players provide free labor for the $11 billion-a-year industry of college football and men’s college basketball, but NCAA rules prohibit them from receiving compensation on top of their scholarships for playing and for endorsements. If these amateur players hope to ever be paid, they must participate in this system, since professional leagues like the NBA only allow players to join once they turn 19 and the NFL maintains a three-year waiting period after high school before a player can enter the league,” Grenardo wrote in Fortune.

According to Grenardo, sports brand have inked multi-million deals with colleges and universities. Under Armour, for example, signed a $280 million deal with UCLA for 15 years while Nike made a $252 million agreement with Ohio State in 2016. The players, however, make nothing.