Student Athlete Economic Independence - PYT Funds

Student Athlete Economic Independence

Pay Your Tuition supports The College Athlete Economic Freedom Act proposed in Congress on February 4, 2021 by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Representative Lori Trahan (D-MA). This legislation would allow student athletes to earn income with their name, image, and likeness (NIL). College sports is a 15-billion-dollar industry, and NCAA revenues exceeded one billion dollars in 2019. Despite this, NCAA athletes are prohibited from receiving compensation in any form other than a scholarship. This leaves many student athletes, predominantly students of color, saddled in student debt and consequently stuck in a cycle of poverty, while the organizations they serve make huge profits off their labor and commitment. 

The College Athlete Economic Freedom Act addresses this problem by allowing student athletes to earn income from jersey sales, shoe deals, and other commercial ventures that use the players’ NIL. Under this new legislation, the players would own their individual brands instead of the college or organization they play for. This newly generated wealth could also be redistributed to benefit all of college sports instead of being controlled at the top. There are many ways this newfound money could be used to incentivize higher graduation rates and more equity between HBCUs, small colleges, and the traditional college sports powerhouses. 

Currently, coaches and executives receive six and seven figure salaries while the student athletes generating this revenue without scholarships are forced to amass debt in order to eat, live, and pay rising tuition costs. PYT supports The College Athlete Economic Freedom Act, as we are committed to finding effective ways to make higher education more affordable for all students. This program would help student athletes graduate without debt and give back to the communities that helped them achieve their goals. 

If Congress passes The College Athlete Economic Freedom Act and the President signs it into law, there would have to be a new financial system to replace the old one. Protecting athletes, avoiding predatory investors, and promoting equity in college athletics should be the main goals of this new system. Consumer protections need to be established for the student athletes so that large corporations and other financial institutions will not take advantage of them. This will also require putting protective measures on these profits to prevent fraud or reckless spending. The profit generated by this new rule should be infused into a profit sharing model, where a percentage goes to the student directly and the rest into a general fund that can be allocated as needed. This would only apply above a certain income level and could work similarly to how the current profit sharing model works in college sports. This money should also be tied to incentives such as graduation of student athletes and performance at school to ensure students still get the education they need. Helping struggling student athletes and preventing exploitation of their labor is the ultimate goal.