In discussions of compensation for college athletes, a particular point of disagreement has been that college athletes should be paid for their hard work. Some people argue that college athletes have no time to work and therefore should be paid, while others contend that college athletes already receive compensation by not having to pay for college tuition. However, the best approach would be to pay athletes for their contributions to the NCAA. College athletes should be paid because of the serve injuries they receive, the endless hour of training, and the NCAA makes commission off of them.
One of the reasons for salary is the time that the athletes spend for their sport. On average, they work 40-60 hours a week. This means that it would be extremely difficult to have another job. In fact, the NCAA prohibits students on an athletic scholarship to have a job. But that only applies to students who are on an athletic scholarship, which is only about 33% of the athletes. The other 67% has it even harder. They spend the same 40-60 hours a week that the athletes on scholarship do, but they also have to pay for everything else. Those on scholarship are provided with tuition and fees, room, board, and books, but those not under scholarship have to pay for all of these things. How can we expect these students to provide enough money for that when they don’t even have time for a real, paying job? No wonder we have $1.2 trillion in student debt and 71% of graduating students in 2012 had student debt.
Another point is the athletes’ Fair Market Value. According to Businessinsider.com, the players on the Louisville men’s basketball team were worth $1.5 million. This study used the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement in which players received at least 49% of the revenue; the 13 scholarship players on the Louisville basketball team then split it up evenly. Another study done by Texas A&M University showed that Johnny Manziel produced $37 million in media exposure for the school during the 2012 football season. Can you guess how much Manziel made of this $37 million? Zero, he made absolutely nothing of the money that he produced for his school.
Less than 2% of college athletes end up playing their sport professionally. So that brings up the question, is it worth it to play sports in college? The risk of injury is a very real threat, especially in contact sports such as football, ice hockey, and lacrosse. Actually, cheerleading, if you consider that a sport has more catastrophic injuries (73% of them) than any other sport in colleges. Another risk, as shown earlier, is the risk of more student debt because of the inability to get a full-time job. For the few athletes that make it big in professional sports, playing sports in college was worth the risk, but for many, it doesn’t pay off so well.
The NCAA has annual revenue of nearly $1 billion. 81% of this revenue comes from media rights. Just think, if there weren’t any student-athletes to compete, none of this money would be made. But the athletes don’t make any money for their appearance and play. The NCAA signed a contract with CBS worth $10.8 billion in 2010. According to the NCAA, 96% of the revenue from this contract will be used to benefit student-athletes. But how does this money benefit student-athletes? Where does all of the money go? Most of the money is spent in ways that help the NCAA make even more money. Michael Wilbon said, “The BCS’ new deal with ESPN was based, in part, on paying more money to schools/conferences with regard to what has been called “population centers.” Of the $174 million distributed from five bowl games, 83.4 percent went to six conferences in 2011.” These population centers are places where there will be the most people which in turn makes the most possible money for the NCAA. Why does the National College Athletic Association do this? Because the NCAA is a greedy corporation that is not for the students, but for the money.
The issue of paying players in every sport, including the ones that lose money, is used as an argument for those against paying the players in college sports. It is true that every sport doesn’t make money. In fact, most sports actually lose money for their schools. If every athlete in the NCAA were paid minimum wage it would be about $5.6 billion dollars per year. There are only $2.7 billion in scholarships every year, so that plan would not work. Another plan is only paying the athletes who make money for the school. It is best put in an ESPN article by Michael Wilbon, “I’m interested in seeing the people who produce the revenue share a teeny, tiny slice of it.” If all the players on the football and men’s basketball team were paid minimum wage, the school would spend no more than $120,000, which is barely anything compared to the school’s athletic budgets.
Some people argue that if college athletes were paid, that they would no longer be considered amateur. But why would that be a problem? Wouldn’t it be a good thing to be considered a professional? In 1986, the International Federation changed their stance on amateurism and allowed professional athletes to compete in the Olympic games. The Olympics are still going strong after the change, so why doesn’t the NCAA change too. If the athletes in the NCAA were no longer considered amateurs, they would lose their tax-exempt status. Most professional sports associations are for profit, but there are some exceptions, such as the NFL, which is tax-exempt. The NCAA could probably regain its lost tax-exempt status if it followed the NFL’s model of being a trade organization. So why don’t they? Because they don’t want to work for anything when they’re already handed everything on a silver platter.
College athletes should be paid. Those who make money get money, and those who don’t, well they don’t. It’s a fairly easy concept, but the NCAA is very powerful and very stubborn. It will probably not happen any time in the near future, but maybe someday the athletes that deserve the money will get it.
College athletes should be paid disregard what others say. They should be paid because of their endless hours of training, the injuries they receive, and the NCAA making money off of them.