New research from the Texas Public Policy Foundation provides a historical review of the issues that have led to dramatic changes in the collegiate sports model over the past twenty-five years. The paper, “Paid in Full: From Amateurism to NIL and the New Marketplace for College Athletes,” looks at recent trends in college sports revenue gains and distribution, historical and current athletic spending practices at colleges, and a detailed review of the ongoing issue of allowing Name, Image and Likeness rights (NIL) for college athletes.  

“Few issues in sports have captivated Americans as much as intercollegiate athletics, and the state of Texas is no exception,” the authors B. David Ridpath, Ed.D. and Julie Sommer, J.D. write.  “The passion, the pomp and circumstance, the rivalries, and the unique American flavor of college sports all make it a significant part of the social fabric of America.” 

Read the full paper. 

“When discussing the complex relationship between American intercollegiate athletics and higher education, including issues up to the present day, it is important to focus on the core issue of ‘why’ monetary compensation in any form provided to the college athlete, directly or indirectly, has been viewed as problematic to the economic health and fairness of the enterprise,” the authors lay out in the paper. “In simple terms, the United States of America is the only country in the world that has a significant portion of elite athlete development and commercialized sports grounded nationwide in its primary, secondary, and, most notably, higher education institutions while simultaneously trying to preserve the concept of amateurism and restricting athlete compensation.” 

College sports and public policy are forever intertwined as evidenced by the legal and legislative action currently happening regarding the industry, specifically with college athlete compensation,” the authors add. “Simply put, NIL rights and expanded compensation opportunities for American college athletes are here to stay.”