Should College Athletes be Paid?
by The Milton Measure on Friday, October 14th, 2011
The NCAA began in the early 1900s as an institution meant “to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount” (NCAA.org). However, many would argue that due to the national popularity of sports like college football and basketball, the NCAA and college athletics as a whole have devolved into a cash-cow that exploits college athletes in order to turn a profit.Proponents of this argument contend that college athletes should receive some sort of monetary compensation, rather than merely a scholarship. The main focus of this argument revolves around college basketball and football, which rake in the majority of the cash and most often show up in the news for scandals. Since football and basketball programs are about profit over education, these athletes should receive compensation in addition to a scholarship.
Colleges generate a huge amount of revenue, and little of this money is handed back to the players. For instance, the NCAA recently reached a deal with CBS, selling the rights to the NCAA tournament for the next 14 years for 10.8 billion dollars, an average of over 700 million dollars a year. What do the players get from this specific revenue? The NCAA pays for every basketball team’s room and board, only a fraction of the total revenue. The rest goes either back to the NCAA conferences (60 percent) or directly to the NCAA (40 percent). This allocation of money is completely unfair. The players create the good product, not the over-paid coaches or the institutions getting all that revenue. An NBC sports report estimated that during their Final Four run in 2010, the Butler basketball team generated around 450 million dollars in equivalent advertising because of the amount of time they were on TV, but again, the players received no money.
Even more of a travesty, the NCAA restricts players from making money through any means at all related to their talents. Schools can sell jerseys with their players’ names on it and get their sports teams sponsored, but college athletes cannot sell their autograph or sign with any sponsor.
The proponents of the current system claim that scholarships are a fair pay for college athletes; however, in many cases, universities do not do enough to educate their athletes. College football and basketball are not designed with education in mind. They are designed to make money, as evidenced by the illogical make-up of athletic conferences.
Boston College certainly didn’t move from the Big East to the ACC for geographical reasons. Instead of traveling ttp Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New York, Boston College plays most of its away games in the Carolinas and Florida. Even more outrageous is Texas A&M attempt to move from the Big 12 to the SEC. Instead of worrying about the time constraints of these “student”-athletes, colleges will travel anywhere in search of the best deals. If being a Division I athlete is a full-time job, why can’t it be treated like one?
These students represent their schools on national television, and their success on the playing field can have a great impact on the school. There is no “amateur” in Division I football and basketball anymore, not when those institutions make millions of dollars every year. It is only fair that the most important cog in the system, the players, be compensated for their value and efforts.
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