How much does a dollar cost? To some, it may be four quarters, ten dimes, or twenty nickels. To others, it’s putting your entire life's work on display for people to watch. For 115 years, the NCAA has profited off the backs of athletes. They prohibited them from pocketing a lot of the money the NCAA has made to turn themselves into a multi-billion dollar company. In 2021 alone, the year in which the rule to allow college athletes to make money went into effect, the NCAA generated record revenue of 1.16 billion dollars. That is enough money for all 187,000 NCAA Division 1 athletes to evenly split $6,203. However, this sentiment was changed in July 2021, with the acclamation of NIL deals.

NIL stands for name, image, and likeness. These deals allow athletes to promote NCAA programs and drive revenue for themselves and their programs. However, not everyone is for the compensation, and big-time coaches like Nick Saban weren’t as happy about it because he felt it affected recruiting. Despite Nick Saban's thoughts, keeping NCAA compensation protects the financial future of athletes. Due to practices, games, and overall dedication to the sport in which an athlete plays, many do not have time to have side jobs to help support themselves over the years. Not to mention what if an injury occurs? An athlete's body is their asset. Athletes market themselves to perform to the best of their ability. However, if a career-ending injury were to happen, what will they have to fall back on? Not everyone will make it to the professional leagues, which is why being able to capitalize on themselves in college is essential to their livelihood. This long fight was worth it, and it’s disappointing that this is an issue.

All in all, the NCAA should keep compensation for athletes because unpaid labor is essentially wrong in this day in age. For the NCAA to have a monopoly on collegiate sports, the ones actually playing the sports should be the people who reap the most benefits.

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