For the longest time, college athletes have been dominating the sports world, bringing viewers, fans, and advertisers together to witness their amazing athletic talents. Basketball and football are by far the two most popular sports on any college campus, and the NCAA knows that.
Once an athlete enters a school, they bring the fanfare with them. Along with that comes the lights, cameras, and the possibility to make a lot of money. According to the NCAA, since college athletes are deemed amateurs, and not professional, they aren't allowed to make any money off of their talent and skill. Since July 1, 2021 though, that has changed. Athletes are now able to monetize their abilities through NIL; name, image, and likeness.
As this new rule rolls around, previous college athletes begin to ponder what this could have meant for them, while others are demanding restitution and back pay for their consequences when they played in college. Some of the most notable people include NFL Veteran, Reggie Bush, and the University of Michigan's Fab 5 basketball team.
From 2003 till 2005, Reggie Bush was the star running back at he University Of Southern California. After recording 18 touchdowns and rushing for 2,611 yards during his 2005 season, Bush was able to be a Heisman Trophy nominee and an eventual winner. All of his success came to a halt when Bush was accused of receiving almost $300,000 in cash and gifts. Ultimately, the NCAA forced USC to take down any memorabilia that honored Bush as well as requiring Bush to give back his Heisman Trophy.
Another similar case of the NCAA punishing college students includes the story of the University of Michigan's 1991 basketball program. In 1991, the University of Michigan became a powerhouse in basketball with the addition of five new freshman players; Jimmy King, Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Ray Jackson, and Juwan Howard. These five athletes became known around the world as the Fab Five (or as they would have liked to been called, Five Times' [5X]). They were not only dominate on the court, but they shifted the culture of basketball and brought their own swagger to the game. Ditching the short shorts that were once the staple of organized basketball, the Fab Five brought long shorts, buzz cuts, and black sneakers to the hard top. Their games were televised on tv and jerseys that featured their last names were sold in bookstores all across the University of Michigan's campus. Unfortunately, the Fab Five never got to see any of the money they brought in for the school.
When it was revealed that Chris Webber, and a slew of other former University of Michigan basketball players received money from a booster, the school put in place self-imposed sanctions, including removing the 1992 and 1993 banners commenting the run of the Fab 5.
In more contemporary times, Donald De La Haye Jr., otherwise known to the internet as Deestroying is another victim the the NCAA's long time rule. As a student-athlete at the University of Central Florida, Deestroying started a YouTube channel in which he would create videos showing off his athletic abilities. Once UCF caught wind of Deestroying's channel, they forced him to either quit his channel or give up his scholarship. Deciding that he would make more money on YouTube than he would at school, Deestroying decided to give up his scholarship at UCF and focus on his YouTube career instead.
College athletes bring millions of dollars to their institutions every single year due to THEIR athletic abilities. TV deals are created, jerseys are printed up, and tickets are being sold to watch student-athletes compete at the highest level. For many years it seemed as though the NCAA was aloof to the realities that their students were living. As much as they produced on the field/court, they still had lives to live outside of that, and a scholarship to a school that most students only stay at for one-two years was just not enough.