So what’s the problem?
Money for autographs is against NCAA rules.
The notion that certain athletes should not be paid or compensated for their sports-related fame or labor.
Even if people want to pay them?
Because as a former NCAA president once explained, if certain athletes were paid for those things, they would then be professionals.
Why does that matter?
Because as the same former NCAA president also explained, if they were professionals, they’d no longer be amateurs.
Is amateurism an American idea?
Nope. It was created by Victorian-era English aristocrats who scoffed at the lower class practice of paid manual labor — how unrefined! — and didn’t want to row crew against their unwashed, farm- and factory-strong inferiors, who were believed to have an unfair physical advantage. Probably due to said manual labor. Anyway, English universities and athletic clubs happily adopted the idea, and American schools followed suit.
(h/t Sports on Earth)