17 January 2018
Should College Athletes Be Paid?
Many people will tell you that the opportunity to go to college is enough for student-athletes, but it is time to start offering more than that and paying the athletes that take their talents to the collegiate level. These athletes bring in large amounts of money for their school and the NCAA and are not being fairly compensated for it. There are many different commodities and experiences that are given up to pursue college sports and the people that choose to do so should at least see some of the benefits of making that choice. The time has come for the traditional rules of amateur athletes not being paid to play to change. There are many good ideas that are going around about how to pay the athletes and they include using a free market technique or paying based on production. Some people believe that college athletes receive many luxuries, examples of the luxuries these athletes are known to have include full ride scholarships and a shot at the pros. The same people that argue these points will say that paying colleges athletes would be unfair to smaller schools, but if the rule change is approached correctly, it would allow for a fair and equal opportunity for all players and schools.
College athletes are defined by the NCAA as amateurs and their bylaws state "A student who engages in athletic contests for educational purposes, personal pleasure, satisfaction, and for the love of the sport, not for monetary or material gain" (NCAA). This means that while an athlete is participating in college level sports they can receive no payment, whether it’s in the form of cash or other goods. There have been instances in the past where athletes have received benefits for playing and the NCAA is anything but lenient with their punishments. The NCAA will strip the athlete of his/her eligibility and amateur status so they can no longer participate in intercollegiate activities in a particular sport. The rule has been speculated on by sportscasters and news people, but the NCAA has stated that this rule will not change. "College football and basketball are multi-billion-dollar businesses. Some schools have billion-dollar TV deals and team sponsors. The coaches for these teams make millions. Some schools have money for fancy training facilities, charter jets to away games, and state-of-the-art arenas. Yet, the labor force-the players- receive nothing. Name another industry where the labor force receives nothing. You can't" (Nocera). The University of Alabama spent $36,918,963 and received $81,993,762 from football alone! That’s not including any other revenue all of the other sports are bringing in. The average salary of a D1 has gone up over 70% form 2006-2012, the average salary of a D1 coach was $1.64 million! With the theory of linear progression that salary would now be over 140% from 2006, which is $2.13 million/year. In 2016 alone Nick Saben, The University of Alabama's coach, made $6.9 million and in 2017 his salary increased by 62%. In 2017 he made an astounding $11.125 million! The schools could cut his salary by $10 million and use it for anything else and he'd still be making a very large sum of money.
College athletes sacrifice more than you’d expect to play their sport although people will say that the college is paying them by giving them scholarships but most athletes are poor and struggling and the NCAA has strict guidelines on players making money. "Those who feel that college athletes should be compensated for their performances argue the issue as a matter of fairness given how profitable college sports are in American society. Advocates for paying student-athletes paint our that compensation would make daily life more financially secure for student-athletes, especially because colleges and universities often have strict policies prohibiting student-athletes from holding part-time jobs out of concern that working would detract athletes from their athletic and academic responsibilities and possibly lead to injuries that could disrupt their participation in sports. Furthermore, neither colleges and universities nor the NCAA corporate office are required to provide accident insurance for athletes for injuries that total less than $90,000 in medical fees; the NCAA requires athletes to have accident insurance before they can participate in school athletic programs" (Garcia). If college athletes aren't allowed to work so they can make money, how are they expected to be able to buy the necessities for living? They're not, colleges expect student-athletes to live just like every other student when in reality, student-athletes are living a very different life and a far more difficult life. "Last year, the National College Players Association released a report called 'The Price of Poverty in Big Time College Sports' that concluded 86% of college athletes live below the poverty line" (The Washington Times). What this statistic means is that will over 3 quarters of the collegiate athlete world are broke and have basically no money to help them pay for food, clothes, and just all around basic need to live after they make it to the 'next level'. Nobody says that these student-athletes are supossed to live a luxurious life, but how is anyone supposed to survive when they're expected to spend upwards of 50 hours/week in the Pac-12 practicing, get enough sleep to be able to function properly, and do all of their academic responsibilities and do them all the right way? There's 168 hours/week. Students spend about 3-5 hours/day on academics, whether that in class or labs, The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get 7-9 hours/day of sleep to function, and spend 50+ hours/week on their respective sports. That only leaves 20 hours/week for everything else that college students do. Now these statistics are taken without factoring in the exhaustion that these athletes feel after practice. Also, if at any point in time an athlete falls under a 2.5 GPA the college or university the athlete is attending can strip their eligibility which means they can no longer play and they lose their scholarship. As you can see, this is a very stressful lifestyle.
People will say that the college these students attend are paying them by giving them a scholarship, but most athletes are poor and struggling and the NCAA has strict guidelines on anything/everything outside of their sports. "Paying athletes anything beyond a scholarship would cause problems, particularly from a gender equity standpoint. What they seem to be referring to when he says 'gender equity' is Title IX federal regulations, which cut off funding of colleges if those colleges discriminate on the basis of sex. Paying male athletes more than female athletes could possibly be constructed as discrimination" (Meshefejian). Female student-athletes bring in far less money than male student-athletes so the schools would have to pay the male athletes more. "However, others argue that these athletes are producing revenues not only for the schools, which gives them the scholarships, but also for shoe companies, television networks, and the conference in which these schools belong to. Moreover, the equity problem could obviously be solved if all athletes playing for the schools receive the same base salary for their participation" (Meshefejian). I have come up with a way I feel these student athletes should be paid. My ideas are as follows:
D1 Schools: D2 Schools: D3 Schools:
Freshman- 1,000/month Freshman- $500/month Freshman- $250/month
Sophomore- $1,500/month Sophomore- $1,000/month Sophomore- $750/month
Junior- $2,000/month Junior- $1,500/month Junior- $1,250/month
Senior- $2,500 Senior- $2,000/month Senior- $1,750/month
The way that I'd set this payment system up is, the schools a student is attending would put money away in a savings account that the said student would not be able to access until they graduate. I feel that this system would increase the graduation rates significantly because knowing that if you graduate you'll have some money for you when you graduate that you can use to start your life just in case you happen not to make the pros. Only about 3% of all student athletes make it to the pros in all of college sports, which is not a very big number at all. These payments would only take place while the student is in school as well.
In conclusion, college athletes should be paid because collegiate student-athletes bring in a large sum of money for their school and college athletes sacrifice more than you'd expect to play the sport they love. After being given all of these facts such as: the amount of money colleges actually make, the time these athletes put in to entertain all of us around the world, and the strict rules and regulations the NCAA has on the athletes that play to make their pockets deeper, it's obvious that college athletes should be paid for playing college sports.