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  • Gregory B. Perleberg, Esq.

Should College Athletes be Paid?

Did you hear the word on the street that National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) athletes can earn as much as $2.4 million year based on NCAA revenues? This is a debate that has raged for the past 20 years, and the jury has finally decided whether or not top college athletes should be paid more. Like professional athletes, collegiate will now have more opportunities to earn money while participating in collegiate sports.

The NCAA was not free to limit income and benefits connected to schooling for Division I football and basketball players, according to a May judgment by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, California. In recent years, the NCAA has come under scrutiny, with state legislators exploring legislation allowing student-athletes to profit from their reputation. Congress is scheduled to vote on new guidelines on the subject — known as a name, image, and likeness — in 2021.

According to a report published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, football and men's basketball players get less than seven-percent of the NCAA’s annual revenue — more than $8 billion — in the form of scholarships and living stipends. According to the estimate, each football player would make $360,000 per year if men's basketball and football players in the most notable leagues split fifty-percent of their money evenly. Each basketball player would receive a salary of roughly $500,000 per year.

The two highest-paid football positions (starting quarterback and wide receiver, respectively) would earn $2.4 million and $1.3 million annually, while rookie basketball players make $800,000 to $1.2 million annually. After the NCAA the Board of Directors approved the plan, and college athletes are one step closer to being paid. We will continue to monitor these cases and legislative changes. Our firm represents athletes, musicians, writers and celebrities, inventors and more.

Sports law, as are most areas of law is complex and potentially subject to all sorts of ever-changing rules and regulations. Our Intern Ava Moaven assisted in the content for this post.

Greg Perleberg


Perleberg McClaren LLP


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