The century-long debate over student-athlete compensation for their free labor will seemingly never end, and it is a conversation with multitudinous points of salience that will constantly be updated for years to come until student-athletes get their worth equated in dollar signs one day.
Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger is no shy man when there is a microphone or camera in his face, and on social media, the signal-caller took to Twitter to seemingly air out the NCAA on what he sees before his eyes while he laces up for the Texas Longhorns.
On Thursday, Ehlinger called out the NCAA system by comparing the type of work he and other athletes do to a “full-time, four-year, unpaid internship.” He explained that the value that the athletes bring to their respective institutions is more than enough for student-athletes to earn a considerable stipend of the money that the NCAA brings in annually.
Ehlinger feels that the value the student-athletes bring to their respective schools, their added effort in every game and risks of potentially-serious injuries far outweigh the value benefits of each and every university that the NCAA sponsors.
He used the “full-time unpaid internship” analogy to voice his support to a new congressional bill by Republican Mark Walker (North Carolina) that would allow athletes to profit from their name and image.
After his tweet, Ehlinger cleared any doubt of his contentment being a college athlete by expressing his satisfaction of being the starting quarterback for the Texas Longhorns.
And the debate rolls on.
Throughout this debate, we have come to understand that American sports landscape is filled to the brim with stories of athletes who got their chance to play at the highest collegiate level, only to find that their professional careers did not solidify a successful career choice.
Cases like those of Todd Marinovich’s, Adam Morrison’s or a Johnny Manziel’s all showcase venerable exhibits of evidence to conclude that collegiate athletes need the financial support from the NCAA, instead of the NCAA profiting off of the backs of athletes that put their health and safety in jeopardy, all while they are prohibited from receiving a single penny.
With the proposal of Rep. Walker now on the table, the next couple of months could promptly end the persistent decision keeping student-athletes from gaining compensation for their profit-inducing work.