DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200: Exploring the NCAA’s Monopoly on Athlete Compensation Behind the ‘Pay the Players’ Debate

A Note by SY Yaw

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On February 2, 2021, EA Sports made an announcement that excited college sports fans everywhere––the NCAA football game that many had grown to love before its discontinuation in 2014 would be returning in 2023.[1] Along with this excitement came a reignited debate about whether student-athletes should be paid for the use of their name, image, and likeness (“NIL”); an issue that contributed to the game’s discontinuation.[2] Despite the profit made by the video game franchise, the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (“NCAA”) longstanding prohibition on student-athletes receiving any compensation beyond their athletic scholarships precluded featured players from receiving compensation.

This Note will explore the intricacies of the debate about whether college athletes should be compensated for their services, primarily using revenue generating sports as a point of examination. Part II will introduce the backdrop of the debate, discussing the “players” in college athletics and the stake that each has in the resolution of this debate. Part III will analyze the current guidelines regulating the compensation––or lack thereof––of student-athletes. Part IV will propose a solution that pleases both sides, while keeping in mind the best interests of the most important players, student-athletes. Part V will conclude.

[1].                Michael Rothstein, EA Sports to Do College Football Video Game, ESPN (Feb. 2, 2021),

[2].                See Jason Kirk, EA Sports Halting College Football Video Games Series After All, SBNation (Sept. 26, 2013, 4:29 PM),