College football is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States. A number of NCAA rules, however, prevent the players from seeing their share of that money. In an estimating exercise, factoring revenue generated to the University, economist David Berri found that last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow should have been paid $3.9 million last year. Instead, he received free tuition, room and board.
Players have been fighting for years for pay, but the COVID-19 pandmic has changed the way they’ve gone about it. A group of athletes from the PAC-12 Conference recently created a list of demands if they were to play in 2019. And now a group of senators, including Kamala Harris, have introduced a bill calling for college athletes to be compensated.
The bill is called The College Athletes Bill of Rights. Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris is among the Democrats sponsoring the measure.
Cory Booker, who played football at Stanford, said, “The time has come for change. We have an opportunity to do now what should have been done decades ago — to step in and provide true justice and opportunity for college athletes across the country.”
College athletes are workers. It is long past time they be treated like it. That means fair wages, safe working conditions, health care, owning their name and image, and collective bargaining rights. https://t.co/yV14d1XMKX
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 13, 2020
Connecticut senator Chris Murphy also weighed in, “We can’t return to business as usual — where a multibillion dollar industry lines the pockets of predominantly white executives all while majority-Black athletes can’t profit from their labor.”
The legistlation would create a revenue sharing system between athletes and the organizations that make money off their labor. Players can make money off their likeness and it would also provide finacial assistance for physical injuries and illes.
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Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com and Pet Lifestyles Magazine. He enjoys sports, politics, technology and spending time at the shore with his family.