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California student dreaming: Let college athletes profit from their own names

2019-09-15

The California legislature just passed a bill allowing students on athletic scholarship at any university in the state the right to market their own names, images or likenesses. It’s a victory for fairness.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, which governs college sports, forbids all such marketing on the theory that it corrupts the purity of college sports.

This is roughly equivalent to wringing one’s hands over the impurity of a poison. Billions of dollars slosh around big-time programs. Coaches and athletic directors pocket millions. And the young people who play the games generate it all.

We’re against paying college athletes; they get scholarships, stipends and — yes, really — educations. But a brilliant running back or soccer player or tennis player has every bit as much right to market his or her image as a college YouTuber or Instagram influencer.

Call it a level playing field.