Changing the business model of college sports

Lyanne Melendez Image
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
California Governor Gavin Newsom holding up a bill signed to allow college athletes to be paid.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- Basketball great, LeBron James was among the first to tweet about Governor Gavin Newsom's decision allowing college athletes to be paid. The announcement was made on his HBO show.

"This is the number one reason why we've created this platform," said James on the show.

RELATED: California becomes 1st state to let college athletes make money, defying NCAA

LeBron then tweeted, "It will change the lives for countless athletes who deserve it."

For many, allowing these athletes to be compensated is a matter of equity, especially for Black athletes.

Some compared Monday's action to the 1968 Olympics when Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists to protest inequality for African Americans.

"Everybody has been making billions of dollars for decades and the students have been given tuition and room and board which is not no compensation but it's certainly disproportionate with the kind of money they are bringing in," said professor James Taylor of USF.

Take a college like Cal with 30 varsity teams, claiming 13 national titles in men's sports and 3 national titles in women's sports, not to mention 107 other team titles and a score of athletes who have participated in the Olympics.

Cal students weighed in.

"They contribute a lot to bringing in that money in the first place so I believe it is fair that they get paid," expressed Zian Shabbir, a student at Cal.

"Yes, we should get paid, it's a job," insisted Adam Saleh who is on the track team at Cal. "I'm missing out on opportunities to do clubs, that have benefits for my future as far as professional development, career development, networking and that kind of thing," added Saleh.

So now the NCAA will have to choose between challenging California's decision and allowing other sports teams around the country to follow California's lead.