Kevin Plank Thinks Its Time To Pay Student Athletes For Money They Generate

It’s been a long-simmering debate in the realm of college athletics. Sports teams, and especially the high-profile stars of nationally-ranked teams, generate millions of dollars for the colleges and universities they play for, but the athletes themselves don‘t receive a dime.

A classic example was the enormous popularity of Tim Tebow, the quarterback for Florida State University and winner of the Heisman Trophy. Sales of his jersey alone made Florida among the top three universities in the country for merchandise sold. That figure (which includes all merchandise) was nearly $6 million. But Tebow didn’t see a penny of it.

Now the owner and CEO of a major athletic apparel company said it’s high time the system is changed. Kevin Plank is the founder of Under Armour. He told reporters recently that athletes should receive compensation when their names, images or likeness are used to make money for others. Companies like Under Armour and Nike also benefit from the arrangement because they contract with the universities to manufacture, promote and sell merchandise using the popularity of star student-athletes.

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The entrepreneur said the current system is not fair. He said the using athletes to generate millions in profits while they get nothing is hypocritical. The amount of money associated with the selling of college sports stars is astronomical. For example, UCLA recently inked a $280 million deal with Under Armour.

While it’s true it helps athletes by providing them with first-class sporting facilities, equipment and training, Kevin Plank thinks the athletes themselves are being left out in the cold. Even if the top tier athletes are getting their college paid for by sports scholarships, Plank said the situation remains patently unfair.

There are signs that the system is changing. For example, the California legislature recently passed its Fair Play to Play Act. It will allow student-athletes to sign endorsement deals, hire agents and enter into licensing contracts. The NCAA has come out strongly against the bill, but Kevin Plank is in favor of it.

Kevin Plank played football in NCAA Division I for the University of Maryland Terrapins during his college career.


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