College athletics in the United States has been a contentious debate for years. Student-athletes, by designation of their amateur status, are not able to be paid by schools or to choose endorsements and sponsorships. Their only compensation comes by way of scholarships.
On the Hollywood Reporter Podcast, former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant became the latest in a long line of athletes claiming that students playing sports at these institutions should be paid. Kobe’s answer came during a rapid-fire segment so he didn’t give any explanation but a firm stance speaks for itself:
THR: “Should college athletes be paid?”
THR: “If that had been allowed in 1996, would that have affected your decision to enter the draft?”
Bryant famously entered the NBA straight from high school, cementing his status as a longtime, consistent performer in the league. That rule has changed since, not allowing players to enter the league straight from high school. However, due to the lack of money, more and more athletes are choosing to go play in international leagues to get paid before declaring for the draft in lieu of college.
At this point, it shouldn’t be a controversial opinion to say that college athletes deserve to be paid. The sheer amount of money they bring in to colleges via the athletics department is incredible; there’s no reason why they shouldn’t get a large slice of that pie. The NCAA is currently in a crisis because of student-athletes, coaches, and universities getting paid under the table to shoe-horn players into schools sponsored by certain brands. It’s just the latest in a line of scandals and corruption for the governing body of college athletics.