Public opinion, according to polls, is that college athletes deserve some type of monetary reward because of the money they create for schools and the NCAA, which is their governing body that benefits from the competition of playoffs and championships.

A poll indicated that generally speaking, Americans support allowing college athletes to cash in on their names, images and likenesses. In other words, sell their names and images by endorsing products. The poll was conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and allowing endorsements was especially high among young adults, as well as African-Americans and Hispanics.

The poll found that 66 percent favor endorsement money for NCAA athletes!

The AP reported that NCAA officials and college sports leaders also support the idea of athletes being paid for endorsements.

In fact, the NCAA board of governors voted in October to permit athletes to benefit from their names, images and likenesses, and directed its 1,100 member schools to have legislation ready for implementation by January 2021.

The NCAA is well aware that there are major problems to work out in the current framework of college athletes. It must guard against corruption in recruiting. With money involved there is going to be an open field in recruiting, and how to deal with it is a serious problem. The temptation to lure athletes with promises of endorsements is going to be there.

Money can corrupt!

We are going to have some wealthy college athletes. Companies will pay huge amounts of money to gain endorsements for their products.

Arguments have been made for years that colege athletes should have some sort of payments because of the money they bring in to a school. Not emphasized enough is the free ride they get for attending colleges. The AP said college athletes already receive a stipend that covers “the true cost of attending college,” an amount determined by federal guidelines. “These stipends vary by school and generally fall between $2,000-$5,000 per year,” the AP said.

College sports programs bring in huge amounts of money to the schools and the NCAA. For example, the latest NCAA’s contract extension with CBS and Turner pays $8.8 billion over eight years for nights to broadcast the men’s basketball tournament. The poll found that 52 percent of Americans believe college athletes should receive a cut of the millions of dollars the NCAA, conferences and schools make annually from media rights deals involving football and basketball games.

The issue of compensation for college athletes has resulted in legislation in several states favoring endorsements by the players.

NCAA President Mark Emmert told the AP: “The opinions of the public in general are very important because they are reflected in the attitudes of universities, who are the ones that actually make the rules.”

The corruption issue isn’t going to go away. There are no perfect safeguards.