Is Direct Payment to Athletes a Good Idea?


Need a legal question answered RIGHT NOW? Text Chris Reid @ (205) 913-7406

In recent years, there has been a lot of debate regarding whether the NCAA should change its rules regarding direct payment to athletes. The proponents of allowing this point out that college athletes bring in billions of dollar in revenue and do not get to share in the profits. As someone who believes in free markets this argument is appealing to me because in a free society we should be able to reap the benefits when we provide a service. However, athletes already do reap some benefits by getting to go to college at no expense to themselves. The question is does this go far enough to adequately compensate them for their sacrifice and the answer in general is yes.

Most college athletic departments end up losing money rather than making it and if we were to pay all athletes it would put a strain on the colleges who could not afford to pay enough to attract the best talent. Also, if the NCAA allowed direct payment of athletes there would likely be issues with title IX since men’s sports tend to bring in more revenue than woman’s sports. There is a middle ground that I think would provide athletes the ability to be compensated without fundamentally changing the nature of college athletics. Athletes should be allowed to trade and profit on their name. For example, the schools make a significant amount of money selling the jersey’s of their star players. The athletes should be allowed to enter into a profit sharing arrangement so they are compensated for this. College athletes should also be allowed to endorse products for a profit as well as sell any signed merchandise. If the NCAA allowed this compromise then the schools would not be in the position to directly pay their athletes but the athletes would be allowed to benefit from their labor. If the NCAA allows this I believe it wouldn’t change the nature of college athletics but it would allow the athletes who bring in revenue to actually receive some form of compensation for their efforts. As an attorney, I have never thought the restriction on profiting from your own name was ever a valid restriction to begin with and I think it is time that the NCAA lifts that restriction once and for all.

If you'd like to schedule a time to talk, please contact the Reid Law Firm today at 205-913-7406! You can also text us at (205) 913-7406 for a quick answer to any legal question. Chris Reid can be reached by email at All communication to the Reid Law Firm is protected by attorney client privilege, so any information submitted will be held in confidence. Initial consultations are always free. For a complete list of our practice areas please visit 

No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of the legal services performed by other lawyers.

Our firm practices the following areas of law: wills, trust, and estates, divorce and family, DUI and drug offenses (only first and second time offenses), and car accident cases. We also handle business law, including formation of business entities and drafting contracts. Additionally, I co-host Yellowhammer News every Monday during lunch from 11-12 on 101.1 fm Birmingham (but our show is broadcast throughout most of the state).