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Is the NCAA’s New Rule a Win or a Loss for Student Athletes?

A NCAA banner from the Division I Men’s Swimming & Diving Championship.

Come senior year, student athletes from high schools all around the country begin the recruitment process in hopes of getting the chance to compete at the college level in the prestigious NCAA league. However, college competition is not always as glamorous as it appears. Upon signing into a college program, an athlete is prohibited from using their name, image, or likeness for their benefit. This means that despite athletes dedicating a majority of their college lives to their sport, they are unable to be compensated for their efforts.

This was all true until recently when the NCAA made history by announcing that they will now allow athletes to profit from their name, image, or likeness. This new opportunity follows the passing of California’s bill, SB 206, which revoked the previous rule that was in place.

This rule has been a source of controversy for years, and for many competitive athletes, this shift in NCAA law has been a long time coming. Because student athletes dedicate the majority of their time to their sport, the inability to make money off of prominent platforms like YouTube or sponsorship deals is seen as a big disadvantage. 

“I think it’s great that you can have the choice to get paid because a lot of athletes are offered sponsorships, but because they’re in college they can’t take [them], and that can hinder their success in the future if they want to continue with the sport,” said Lauren Scruggs (‘21), junior world fencing champion and hopeful future recruit. “I know a lot of fencers specifically that get a lot of offers, and equipment is expensive so if they could get sponsorships it could help them a lot.”

While this change in the NCAA rulebook could evidently be a game changer for countless student athletes competing at the college level, there are also worries that the adjustment could cause favoritism for more popular sports. 

“It’s more [helpful] for those bigger sports like football, basketball, and soccer. People watch college basketball, people don’t really watch college fencing,” Lauren mentioned.

Regardless of whether this change will serve as positive or negative for the NCAA and the league’s athletes, this new rule has dictated the beginning of a new era for college sports and it surely will not be the last major change we will see in the coming months.

Sylvan Wold is currently a sophomore at the Packer Collegiate Institute and a reporter for the Packer Prism this year. She decided to join the Prism because of her interests in analytical writing and video making. This is her first year working on the Prism. Aside from journalism, Sylvan runs for the varsity cross country and track teams and enjoys getting involved in the Packer community by participating in clubs like Letters are Better and Family Composition. Sylvan can be reached at

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