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An NCAA Care Package: How the 2.8 Billion Dollar Settlement Helps Black Student Athletes and Their Families



The recent $2.8 billion settlement between the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Power Five conferences has tremendous impact on college sports and student athletes. The agreement, which allows student-athletes to be compensated for their services, signals a significant departure from the NCAA’s steadfast position of protecting amateurism and embraces fairness and equity in collegiate athletics.

 

This settlement also includes a radical revenue-sharing plan. Under this agreement, each school could allocate approximately $20 million annually to its student-athletes. This is extremely impactful for African-American athletes, their families and communities.

 

Historically, for many African-American athletes, sports have always been an outlet for young people to develop their discipline, discover their passion, and fund higher education. However, financial constraints have often times hindered their ability to fully leverage their athletic talents. Now, this burgeoning opportunity for direct compensation addresses this disparity, providing much-needed financial support to athletes and, in turn, their families. This support can alleviate economic burdens, such as housing expenses, medical bills, and other essential needs, thereby empowering student-athletes to focus on their academic and athletic pursuits without undue financial stress.

 

Moreover, this settlement holds broader implications for the greater African-American community. Many come from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods where opportunities for advancement aren’t as plentiful as their counterparts. By enabling student-athletes to share in the revenue generated by college sports, this settlement injects vital resources into African-American communities, fostering economic growth and providing tangible benefits to local residents. This is a step to addressing systemic inequalities while assisting in the creation of generational wealth.

 

The settlement also addresses longstanding grievances regarding the exploitation of student-athletes within the collegiate sports system. For years, the NCAA's adherence to amateurism rules has allowed universities and athletic programs to generate tremendous profits. While these “players” are profiting immensely on the backs of these student-athletes, the student-athletes (the real “players”) are spending hours equivalent to a full-time or, at minimum, part-time job, working out, practicing and performing on game day. Meanwhile, the student-athletes still have to find the time to attend their classes, complete required projects, and study for their exams. This inequity has disproportionately impacted African-American athletes, who often face systemic barriers to economic mobility. By acknowledging the need for compensation and implementing a revenue-sharing plan, the NCAA and Power Five conferences are taking a crucial step towards rectifying these injustices.

 

Furthermore, the settlement reflects a broader shift in the landscape of college sports, driven by recent changes in Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) regulations. While NIL rights have provided student-athletes with opportunities for additional income through sponsorships and endorsements, the revenue-sharing plan provides a more structured and sustainable form of compensation. This ensures that student-athletes, particularly African-American student-athletes, can benefit equitably from the commercialization of college athletics.

 

With this in mind, mentorship programs and financial counseling are not just beneficial but are imperative in preserving the compensation student-athletes receive. Student-athletes are young and impressionable, so they require proper protections and protocols to be established. Mentors and financial counselors can guide them through the complexities of financial management, career planning, and personal development.

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