clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Are Jim Harbaugh and Condoleezza Rice paving the way for college athletes to receive compensation?

Will college athletes receive compensation before the decade is over?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Michigan v Ohio State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Paying student athletes has been a major topic in recent years and months.

While finding a solution to the problem is the hard part, it’s equally hard to swallow the fact the NCAA makes an insane amount of money each year off the hard work of student athletes.

How much is an insane amount you ask? Well, in 2017 the NCAA had a reported revenue of $1.1 billion dollars. With that amount of change in the pot, it would be reasonable for coaches and administrators to at least be open minded in regards to paying student athletes.

This week, Jim Harbaugh and Condoleeza Rice both made comments in favor of paying student athletes in some form.

On Thursday, Harbaugh weighed in on the topic, while prefacing his comments stating that the most important part of the athletes experience is the education (as most don’t become professional athletes).

With the Michigan team participating in the Amazon documentary ‘All or Nothing’, Harbaugh has thought about athletes receiving deferred compensation. “Maybe there’s a way to do some kind of deferred compensation. “I think that (could be) a possibility and we’re exploring that right now,” Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh thought about various options for deferred compensation, including team members to receive some Amazon stock. “We don’t know if it would work, but we want to find out and there’s only one way to find out and that’s to ask. Will it work or not? We don’t know,” he said.

While deferred compensation wouldn’t help student athletes immediately, it would certainly be better than receiving no compensation at all.

Harbaugh did express concern for paying athletes while they are still in school, if they were to be paid he wondered if they’d be considered employees, and if the government would then tax their scholarship and other benefits they receive from attending their respective institution.

Harbaugh’s comments are cautious in nature, because this is a complex issue that hasn’t garnished any concrete solutions to date, but a high profile coach such as he being open to some type of compensation for student athletes is a big deal now and for the future conversations on the topic.

Former Secretary of State and current Commission chair of the Commission on College Basketball, Condoleezza Rice, took things much further this week, calling the NCAA rules “incomprehensible” and went on to say “We believe that students ought to be able to benefit from name, image and likeness but you can’t decide a program until you know the legal parameters.”

Rice has noted that there is no legal framework as of yet to implement guidelines that would pave the way to paying student athletes, so the days of college athletes being paid are still a ways off. Nothing will be changing for the 2018-19 season for college basketball or football (and all other sports), but she’s hopeful that by the time 2019-2020 rolls around change is instituted and athletes will receive some type of compensation.


Should college athletes receive compensation?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Yes, immediately
    (49 votes)
  • 50%
    Yes, but deferred compensation is the better route
    (104 votes)
  • 26%
    No, receiving a scholarship is good enough
    (55 votes)
208 votes total Vote Now