The money behind college sports


A symbolic representation of the money thrown at college sports.Photo taken by Cohen Paxton.

Cohen Paxton, Reporter

With college football season in full swing, you have to talk about what could be the biggest change in college sports history. 

In July of 2021, Connecticut created a bill that made it possible for college athletes to be given endorsement deals. This bill sent shock throughout the United States because so many athletes had protested this for years and finally something was done. Before 2021, athletes who were found to have been getting endorsement money were suspended or even had their collegiate eligibility taken away. 

Two of the most famous cases of athletes being penalized for endorsement deals are Reggie Bush and Donald De La Haye. In Reggie Bush’s final season with the USC Trojans, he was amazing; so good that he brought home the Heisman Trophy, which is awarded by the NCAA to the best football player of the season. His time of celebration was cut short when it was later found out that he was selling game-worn gear and autographs. When the NCAA found out about this, they took away his Heisman Trophy. 

Even though Donald De La Haye’s story is not quite as big as Reggie Bush’s, it is still a major cornerstone in getting to the point athletes are at now with college endorsements. Donald De La Haye, also known as famous youtuber Deestroying, was a kicker for UCF. Outside of football, he had a Youtube channel where he posted videos of him playing and reacting to football. When the NCAA became aware of his channel and how he was making money off of it, they forced him to pick between football and Youtube. 

His football career was cut short, but he still played a major role in making it possible for college students to make some money. Looking back at Donald De La Haye and Reggie Bush’s story, it leaves us questing what it would be like if they played today?

With college athletes now being able to make money, college sports have changed dramatically. Athletes can now be paid for commercials, sponsored by brands, or even just given money by colleges.

Raquan Smith, who is known as the “king of NIL, ” is a two sport athlete at Norfolk State University and is said to have 70 endorsement deals that bring him in around five figures of income . 

Not only has NIL changed college sports inside the campus, but colleges can pay high school recruits to commit to their college. This has led to the schools with lower recruiting value and deeper pockets to land some higher recruits. There are kids in high school getting paid like professional athletes just to commit to a college. For example, Nico Iamaleva, a five star quarterback from Downey, California, just recently signed a NIL deal with Tennessee Collective Spry Sports Group for eight million dollars. 

While some people may not think that people this age should be getting paid to play sports; it is the future of sports and will only become more and more apparent in sports.