Do College Basketball Players Get Paid?

23 July 2022

For over a century, collegiate sports players have brought in a staggering amount of money to the schools they represent. Also for over a century, collegiate sports players, including basketball players, were not allowed to receive any compensation for their skills and contribution to the schools.

This isn’t to say that US college basketball players got nothing for playing. In most cases, top basketball athletes were offered a full-ride scholarship, or the chance to attend a four-year university, free of charge. In 2021, however, the NCAA finally revised its archaic rules surrounding compensation for college athletes. Now US basketball players can get paid from their likeness, social media, endorsement deals, autograph signings, and other financial opportunities.

Let’s dive in further and discover more about US college basketball players, including ways they can now get paid, how much average college basketball players earn, and the various ways the NCAA has opened up athletes to paychecks. 

What Is The NCAA?

In the United States, collegiate sports contests and student-athletes are governed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which is a non-profit organization. The competitions that make up the NCAA are split up into three distinct divisions (NCAA Division I, II; III).

In addition to this duty, the NCAA is in charge of formulating guidelines for collegiate athletes. These criteria include a minimum grade requirement, as well as guidelines governing behavior and compensation.

How Can US College Basketball Players Earn Money?

Money can be made by college basketball players in the United States in a number of different ways. Before the year 2021, student-athletes were only permitted to get monetary recompense for their work at a place of employment. The specific rule specified that the employer was not permitted to hire the athlete based on the athlete’s name or athletic ability and that this was also a prohibited practice.

Student-athletes are now entitled to collect money for any social media brand collaborations, endorsement deals, autograph signings, and other commercial endeavors as a result of a rule change that will take effect in the year 2021 in the NCAA. It is permissible for players in US college basketball and other NCAA sports to receive payment for these things, regardless of whether or not they are represented by an agency.

Social Media

The internet is scoured by companies looking for promising new artists to promote their brands across social media platforms. Since the beginning of this decade, social media influencers and regular individuals who have a significant number of followers have been negotiating endorsement deals with various brands. On the other hand, student-athletes have only recently gained access to chances of this kind.

However, as a result of the rule change made by the NCAA, collegiate basketball players in the United States are now permitted to accept influencer partnerships through their own personal social media accounts.

Endorsement Deals

Professional athletes have been signing endorsement deals since the day they walk onto a court or field but until recently the NCAA did not allow US college basketball players, or any student-athletes, to participate. 

Now student-athletes are allowed to sign endorsement deals, but that doesn’t mean they have free reign. Individual schools may impose rules regarding which products can be endorsed, and some already block age-restricted items like alcohol and tobacco. The NCAA also has the final say in which endorsement deals go through and will often deny requests for products in direct competition with the NCAA. 

Autograph Signings

The right to use one’s own name, which is one of the most fundamental rights that every human being possesses, had been denied to collegiate basketball players in the United States for the past century. For a considerable amount of time, it was forbidden for student-athletes to receive any kind of payment for autograph signings, which are one of the most fundamental aspects of celebrity.

When the new NCAA compensation regulations went into effect, thankfully, this was one of the aspects that were altered. Student-athletes now have the freedom to set their own prices for signing autographs, regardless of how much money they make.

How Much Does The Average US College Basketball Player Earn?

This year, the top US college basketball player could realize a $2 million dollar paycheck, without even going pro. While this situation is unique, and not all collegiate players earn this amount, the possibilities are endless. Because the new NCAA rule changes are quite recent, it’s difficult to ascertain how much an average US college basketball player earns.