By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — College sports programs made $14 billion in revenue last year, while college athletes made about $18,000 in scholarship money.

But student-athletes won a huge win Tuesday after the NCAA ruled they can be paid if their schools use their name, image or likeness.

READ MORE: Special Session Kicks Off Monday; Extension Of Emergency Powers Renewed Another 30 Days

“I’m really enthusiastic about what the board has done,” said NCAA president Mark Emmert. “It’s a very important step toward modernization of NCAA rules to provide more opportunity for our students, so that’s an inherently good thing for everybody.”

Now it will get messy, and the debates will begin. How much should an athlete for his or her likeness? What’s “reasonable”? The ruling does clear one major hurdle: At least some college athletes will get paid.

The Minnesota Gophers’ winning in football means more money for the school. But in the future, it could mean more money for individual players based on media impressions they make. Coaches across the country have to endorse it.

“I’m in favor for the players getting as much as they possibly can. All of us. This is America, right?” said University of Illinois football coach Lovie Smith.

READ MORE: Police: Armed Suspect Arrested After Barricading Himself Inside Cannon Falls Building

LeBron James (credit: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

It could also mean high-end high school basketball players like LeBron James would consider college as opposed to a jump to the NBA.

“Me and my mom, we didn’t have anything. We wouldn’t have been able to benefit at all from [playing in college],” James said. “The university would have been able to capitalize and everything.”

Ken Foxworth played for the Gophers, and has been an active alum since his days four decades ago. His take on the matter reflects much of what you hear from the people who have watched closely as the money moves in and out.

“I think it’s about time, really,” Foxworth said. “Everybody’s getting paid but one thing, one person, and that’s the student-athlete. Coaches, how much they getting paid? Getting a contract? They getting paid millions of dollars. The school, what they getting paid? Millions of dollars. The advertisement? Millions of dollars. Who’s playing? The entertainment? Who’s doing the entertainment? The student-athletes.”

MORE NEWS: Driver Plows Into Protesters In Uptown; Woman Killed Identified As Deona Knajdek

The University of Minnesota issued a statement that they are following Tuesday’s events. Translation? No one knows what this will look like when it gets implemented.

Mike Max