A national debate over paying student athletes is once again ramping up after a legendary Bay Area coach’s comments.
The latest discussion centers around college athletes posting modeling pictures on social media to earn money. College athletes can now get paid from their name, image and likeness, or NIL.
A recent New York Times article profiled one of the top female earners through NIL – Olivia Dunne. The LSU gymnast has more than 8 million followers on social media and reportedly makes $2 million a year by endorsing products and modeling.
But some who have fought for women’s rights in sports, like Hall of Fame Stanford women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer, are concerned with the way some of the young female athletes are making deals and whether it is fueling the sexualization of women.
“I guess sometimes we have this swinging pendulum, where we maybe take two steps forward, and then we take a step back. We’re fighting for all the opportunities to compete, to play, to have resources, to have facilities, to have coaches, and all the things that go with Olympic-caliber athletics,” VanDerveer said to the Times.
Dr. Andrea Geurin has researched how elite women athletes use social media to build brands and their careers. The women she interviewed say yes, they feel pressured to post sexy pictures.
“Each athlete is going to reach a different audience that connects with them,” Geurin said. “So some of them said ‘I did it, I know that can lead to greater engagement but I’m not comfortable doing it.’ And then others said ‘I post those images, it doesn’t really bother me, I’m OK with it.’ They’re very comfortable with it.”
NBC Bay Area reached out to Dunne and the Stanford Athletics Department for comment and have not heard back.
Source: NBC Bay Area