TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Getting paid to play isn’t just for the pros anymore. Tuesday, the NCAA cleared the way to compensate college athletes.
It’s a move that some are calling a home run, but others fear it could uneven the playing field for college sports.
Jesuit High School senior and star pitcher Camden Minacci sat out of an off-season match up at Steinbrenner Field Tuesday to protect his arm. Minacci is already committed to play at Wake Forest University next fall.
“I’m very excited to play college baseball,” he said.
Voting to let college athletes cash in on endorsements is a major move by the NCAA, a move the governing body fought against for years. The decision comes about a month after California passed its Fair Pay to Play act.
“I think for particular guys, it might be more a distraction than anything,” Minacci said.
Minacci may be on the fence but his coach Miguel Menendez thinks it will help strike out corruption in college sports. He also believes it could give a player some needed financial freedom.
“I know they’re getting scholarships, getting school paid for, but in baseball, there’s only 11.7 scholarships at the Division 1 level,” Menendez explained. “So guys aren’t getting 100 percent scholarship and they don’t have the ability to go make money.”
In a tweet, Florida governor Ron DeSantis called the move “great news for college athletes in Florida and across our country.”
But next fall, Minacci insists his plan is to focus on play, not pay, to punch his ticket to the pros.
“Obviously, I hope that excels me to the next level,” he said.
USF Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly also released a statement Tuesday following NCAA’s announcement.
“Clearly, the time has come to modernize the collegiate model and to continue to enhance student-athletes’ opportunities,” he said. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the NCAA’s commitment to that concept and establishes a timeline to put effective legislation in place to allow student-athletes the ability to benefit financially from their name, image and likeness. I look forward to participating in that process.”