For years, debate wore on regarding compensating all student-athletes at the collegiate level for their impact on and off the field. And on Oct. 29, the NCAA Board of Governors voted in favor of allowing student-athletes to be paid for the use of their name, image and likeness.
The decision came nearly a month after California Gov. Gavin Newsome signed the Fair Pay to Play Act bill into law, which also gives college athletes in California the opportunity to be compensated for their name, image and likeness beginning in 2023.
Although the NCAA’s new rule will not officially take hold until January 2021, it advanced the discussion of compensation for student-athletes and made waves in the sports world for past, present and future college athletes.
Many players and coaches at different levels of collegiate athletics have voiced their opinions on the subject, including Baltimore native and current Coppin State men’s basketball coach Juan Dixon.
“Now, hopefully, some of these students-athletes can stay in school for four years and earn their college degree because they get an opportunity to possibly be compensated for what they do for the institution in college,” Dixon said on Glenn Clark Radio Oct. 31.
A former star guard at Maryland from 1998-2002, Dixon led a talented Terps squad to back-to-back Final Fours and the school’s only national championship in 2002. The national title team was coached by Gary Williams and had future NBA players in Dixon, Steve Blake, Lonny Baxter and Chris Wilcox.
“People loved that team,” he said. “Just the energy, the passion and the toughness we played with. We sold out Cole Field House every home game, people traveled well.”
Dixon discussed how athletes like former Duke star Zion Williamson and Katelyn Ohashi — the current UCLA gymnast who became what Dixon called a “YouTube sensation” for her routines — are two examples of student-athletes that would benefit from this rule change.
However, Williamson left the program after just one season for the NBA and is now a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, while Ohashi has just one year left as a Bruin. Therefore, neither will see the rule change in action as college athletes.
Overall, though, Dixon gives the NCAA credit for giving future student-athletes a new opportunity and hopes it will not only provide a financial change but also an educational benefit as well.
“Kudos to the NCAA for giving our athletes an opportunity,” Dixon said.
For more from Dixon, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Troy Queen/Coppin State Athletics