Title IX a Major Obstacle to Paying NCAA College Athletes

NCAA Athlete Compensation

titleixFor a couple of years now, different parties have been making the argument that college athletes should be compensated for play, as athletic programs are bringing in millions upon millions of dollars each year.

For example, USA Today reported that the University of Texas had total revenue of more than $163 million in 2012, and 12 other schools topped the $100 million mark. With this much money being generated, one would think it would be a no-brainer to pay the athletes that bring in these funds, but that isn’t the case.

Title IX

Perhaps the biggest obstacle is Title IX, which was created to give women more opportunities in higher education. However, it now pertains to athletics as well, which means female athletes need to be given the same advantages as male athletes.

So, what does this mean when it comes to paying NCAA athletes? It means that if Heisman Trophy winner, James Winston, is going to be compensated for his play, the second-string shot put thrower on the female track and field team at Florida State University needs to be paid as well.

This is where things can get extremely complicated, as football is the main revenue source for the majority of athletic departments, while sports such as track and field and lacrosse probably cost the school money. For this reason, it may be difficult for any advocates of pay-for-play to get what they want, as it would be complicated to come up with a system that fairly compensates Winston and all athletes in smaller, more costly sports. It doesn’t mean that NCAA athletes will never be paid, just that there are some severe obstacles that need to be cleared.

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Anthony R. Caruso is a business transactional attorney in New York and New Jersey with experience in structuring, negotiation and completion of legal deals involving business, entrepreneurs, athletes and performers.

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