(News4usonline) – The world of college sports has officially entered an era where student-athletes will be able to get paid. In the case of Shaqir O’Neal, he has an estimated earning of over a million dollars and has had brand deals with companies like Fortnite and Capital One.
O’Neal and many of his athletic peers are ushering in an era where “amateur” athletes will be able to gain financially based on their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL).
Using his name associated with his father’s legacy and his own image, O’Neal will now be able to turn a profit due to NIL laws. Amateurism in the NCAA has a long history of controversy tied to it. The famous case of Reggie Bush having his name removed from Heisman record books shows how seriously the NCAA takes its policy to not pay players.
New or recruited athletes were only offered scholarships that cover room and board with no outside compensation for performance in their respective sport, this includes money for winning championships or big tournaments which is reflected in the coaches and schools’ pay and the players see no profit.
The topic of amateurism has since been argued several times throughout history. In June of 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the NCAA violated the Sherman Act in the case of the NCAA vs. Alston.
This case was sparked by Nick Saban’s national college football championship in 2021 where he had a salary of more than $9 million dollars.
None of the earnings from this championship was rewarded to the players that he coached. Now players are now able to actively look for outside means of income, whether that be partnering with popular companies like Fortnite or even in some cases, garnering shoe deals.
Adidas has made the additions of college basketball players a hot topic of discussion, linking up with Gradey Dick, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Hansel Emmanuel, and Jalen Hood-Schifinio.
Alongside Emmanuel’s deal with Adidas, he is also the top-paid college basketball player with around one and a half million in NIL deals. This marks a historical moment in college basketball as players are being paid as an individual while wearing and representing a brand.
The NIL benefit has even already reached the high school level with LeBron James’s sons; Bronny James, and Bryce James both having massive NIL deals.
The introduction of the NIL and NIL laws is the seed of a wave of change when it comes to college athletes and how they can benefit. Amateurism will forever be a pillar in the NCAA as it was at its conception. However, there are other means for a player to gain notoriety and financial gain. They don’t have to wait four years to get it. The student-athlete of today can get what they want right now.
Feature Image Photo Caption: WEST LAFAYETTE, IN – MARCH 18: Marcus Bingham Jr. #30 of the Michigan State Spartans defends Jaime Jaquez Jr. #4 of the UCLA Bruins in the First Four round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament held at Mackey Arena on March 18, 2021 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Hancock/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)