Should college athletes be allowed to get paid?
“Everyone Made Money Off My N.C.A.A. Career, Except Me” is a two-minute film that touches on themes of athleticism, fairness and empowerment. In it, Katelyn Ohashi, a former college gymnast, describes how she was not able to capitalize on a viral video of one of her athletic performances, or the fame and attention that followed, because of N.C.A.A. rules. Ohashi argues that college students should be given the ability to earn income from their athletic achievement, which would especially benefit women and competitors in sports without pro leagues.
1. Watch the short film above. While you watch, you might take notes using our Film Club Double-Entry Journal (PDF) to help you remember specific moments.
2. After watching, think about these questions:
What questions do you still have?
What connections can you make between this film and your own life or experience? Why? Does this film remind you of anything else you’ve read or seen? If so, how and why?
3. An additional challenge | Respond to the essential question at the top of this post: Should college athletes be allowed to get paid?
4. Next, join the conversation by clicking on the comment button and posting in the box that opens on the right. (Students 13 and older are invited to comment, although teachers of younger students are welcome to post what their students have to say.)
5. After you have posted, try reading back to see what others have said, then respond to someone else by posting another comment. Use the “Reply” button or the @ symbol to address that student directly.
6. To learn more, read “Everyone Made Money Off My N.C.A.A. Career, Except Me.” Ms. Ohashi writes:
An exuberant top-scoring floor routine by U.C.L.A.’s Katelyn Ohashi went viral this year, making her one of the most famous college gymnasts ever. But N.C.A.A rules prevented Ohashi from making any money from the performance. In this Video Op-Ed, Ohashi argues that college students should be given the ability to earn income from their athletic achievement.
Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California signed a law to do just that. The Fair Pay to Play Act, would allow college athletes to strike endorsement deals, a move that would transform the entire business model of college sports. Changing the rules would be especially beneficial for women and athletes in sports that lack professional leagues.
But California’s changes aren’t scheduled to take effect until 2023, and that leaves the N.C.A.A. plenty of time to mount challenges to the law. If the law is upheld, the N.C.A.A. will have to decide whether to penalize California’s universities with fines, or even expel them from the association. For now, California is betting that the huge size of its college system, and its influence in college sports, will make that impossible.
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