By Mardeio Cannon | OBSERVER Columnist
Until recently, most student-athletes attending colleges and universities across these fruited plains — especially from disadvantaged families — had little money in their pockets if things got tight during the month while attending school. Now, because of recent court rulings, the floodgates are open and it is a new day in the way that college athletes can receive compensation that has turned college athletic programs on their heels.
In the past, the NCAA, as the governing body of college athletics, had some harsh rules on athletes receiving any kind of remuneration as athletes while on scholarship. There were many stories of athletes not even allowed to receive a hamburger from a booster if they were hungry.
Now college athletes can be compensated for their NAME-IMAGE-LIKENESS now called NILs. College athletes from the largest schools can now accumulate thousands of dollars and sometimes millions even before they turn professional.
Nick Saban, the highly successful head football coach of the University of Alabama, publicly accused Deion Sanders, head football coach of Jackson State a HBCU school, of stealing a prized recruit because of their NIL payment. Sanders strongly refuted Saban’s accusation and Saban issued an apology.
Now that the financial landscape of college athletics has changed, the NCAA has been rendered powerless to control athletes getting their money. This, for the most part, is good news for most college athletes, however since NILs are mostly unregulated, this creates the haves and the have nots for some athletes.
HBCU athletes for the most part are not getting access to the larger amounts of income that athletes in major Division I colleges have access to.
That’s why Sanders’ capturing a highly prized recruit from the University of Alabama to play at Jackson State is a welcome trend that should allow more African American athletes to consider HBCUs.
Hopefully these athletes receiving this money will learn how to make wise decisions so that this well-earned money can help them off to a strong financial future.