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Should College Athletes Be Paid Essay

The System for college athletes isnt perfect, and needs to be worked on, a big problem we cannot seem to agree is how to compensate the student-athletes who drive the NCAA. I would like to start off with a question. Are college athletes being compensated enough for the effort they put forth today? Every Day they wake up early and represent their university whether they are putting in work in class or on the field. Each student-student athlete generates tons of money for their university and they don’t see a dime other than their scholarship that may or may not been renewed every year. Keep that question in mind while reading this essay, and form your own opinion.

There is simply not enough money for each athlete to be paid. The NCAA also has a policy called Title IX, which basically states that if one athlete gets money, every athlete at that university has to get compensated for the same amount. Meaning that a women’s field hockey player will be granted the same amount as a starting quarterback who fills up stadiums. Once people hear that this would be the reality if college athletes were paid, their opinions may change. The NCAA is huge on ameatur status and if they ever paid student athletes, they would break the golden rule that college athletes have been running on since the beginning of college sports. A few hundred dollars a month for each athlete isn’t going to stop any of the illicit activities involved with collegiate athletics because this isn’t about needing material things. What primarily causes improper benefit violations is greed. Student-athletes break rules because they want something they normally could not have, not because they needed something most other students had.

An article written by a Colorado University professor states that the school has cut funding for research to pay for poorly performing football coaches. “Rutgers University has subsidized it’s athletic program to the tune of $115 million since 2006, while at the same time foregoing raises across campus last year to save $30 million.” College athletics are a big piece of everyday life of people around the world already, and in reality athletes are already paid. Scholar athletes are paid in form of a full scholarship which includes tuition, room and board, books, and some incidentals. Many schools across the country have top notch educational tutoring programs, along with top tier exposure that would cost a fortune if it was not provided by the university.

There have been coaches such as head football coach at South Carolina, Steve Spurrier, who have provided a plan that pays each of his players $300 for each game they play in. Spurrier says the extra $300 dollars “would be for game expenses that they could give to their parents for travel, lodging, meals, and even maybe taking their girlfriend out Saturday night and so forth” Spurrier States.

Pay for Play is a topic that has gotten much more debate recently with new scandals occurring so frequently. Annually the Pac-12 makes $250 million in T.V. contracts, $150 million for the downsized Big 10, and $205 million for the SEC. So the question must be asked, as these TV contracts grow larger and larger, will the players be granted any money in the near future? There have been recent studies that have come up with estimates that the full athletic scholarship comes up around $3,000 short of all expenses needed for the student. A couple years ago, there were reports that football quarterback Cam Newton who plays for the Carolina Panthers starting as quarterback, was being shopped around by his father for $180,000. Newton denied the reports and these claims were never proven and Newton went on to win the Heisman trophy and national championship. Even if Newton was paid $180,000, that is only a small percentage of the money that he brought to the university for that season at Auburn.

NCAA president Mark Emmert, on paying players “There’s a model for paying athletes, and its called professional sports, and I love them. But that’s not what college sports is about. If we were going to pay student athletes, why even have a university-based teams?……Just go watch a pro game.” As for right now, pay for play is just a debate, so here are some pros and cons of the idea. Some pros, or why the idea makes sense are: players should be entitled to some form of compensation due to the money they bring to the school and the injury risk they face each time they play their respective sports. Athletes from poor families need money to be able to support themselves since their families cannot do it for them. The money the football and men’s basketball teams should go back to the players instead of paying for sports who make no profits. If the athletes were paid it could help keep kids that aren’t ready to go pro from going pro early. While pay for play sounds nice, there are also reasons it wouldn’t work. A big question that would come up would be, where would the money come from? A majority of athletic programs don’t make enough of a profit already. Title IX would make it so each athlete, regardless of sport, would have to be paid the same. Many believe that non-revenue sports would have to be abandoned since there wouldn’t be sufficient funds to support them.

While people may have the opinion that college athletes should be paid, the debate for them is how they would be paid, and where the money would come from. The main argument is that paying the athletes only seems fair. Since schools don’t have to pay their players, schools are able to pay more and more for their coaches. As of March 2010, almost a dozen schools spent 38% or more on their football offensive or defensive coordinators. Players are the product that everyone comes to see, they are the ones risking their bodies. Everyone can make money off of college athletics except for the athletes themselves. Pay for play would put other schools at a competitive disadvantage. The question would be how would the smaller schools and conferences who only make a fraction of what the larger conferences be able to keep up with the larger schools and conferences? Would you rather play at a small school or play for a larger school and be paid extra towards your scholarship? The obvious answer would be to play for a larger school and get more money.

Another question would be would you pay every athlete or a select few? These are all important questions that must be asked before we start paying college athletes. People may think that being a college athletes is easy, and anyone can do it, however this is not the case at all. To begin with, the athletes put in loads of their time, everyday of the week. They still have to go to class everyday like normal students, then practice and even sometimes they have a practice after another practice. After these tasks are done they eat dinner, then go study. At the end of the day, they aren’t left with any free time due to their crazy college schedule. You would think that they would by the end of the day, but no time is really given. Coaches can be very demanding by having the athletes stay up late at night watching film for tomorrows game.

When they are hurt, they are taken in by physical therapists and athletic trainers. As a student athlete though, you have to stay focused on your studies and make progress on your athletic abilities/performances or the college might try to get rid of you. One thing that may be surprising is most college athletes do not receive their college degrees. The games they play, and the rigorous workouts are main contributors to this. There’s so much pressure on the athlete to perform well that sometimes their grades slip. College coaches are sometimes the one to blame for this, since sometimes they look the other way and risk their players education just to win some more games. Some people can argue that student athletes are compensated enough already.

Over a period of four years a college scholarship could exceed $200,000. Along with that $200,000 in scholarship money the athlete could receive top-of-the-line tutoring, priority scheduling, and excused absences. “When athletes accept scholarships, they are provided tuition, books, meals, housing, and sometimes graduate assistantships.” With all of this being said, people may have a valid argument that athletes are being compensated enough already. In a recent survey taken by students, they said they supported the idea of paying the athletes at their school. Something shocking was that the students said they would even pay increased tuition if it meant that the money went towards paying the athletes at their school. Both sides of the debate have solid arguments as to whether they should be paid or not. One thing that is certain however is the athletes are being offered a lot with a college scholarship and a excellent learning experience, but the real question is, is that enough? There are 320 athletic programs in Division I each year, with the exception of a few schools. Each university runs on a deficit each year. “According to the NCAA’s own figures (which generally exclude capital costs, among others), the average FBS athletic program ran a $9.44 million operating deficit in the latest year.”

With this being said, here lies the main problem as to why it would be nearly impossible for schools to pay their athletes. There is no logical solution as to how a school would be able to pay a student-athletes salary. So the question must be asked. Where would the money come from, if not provided by the university? Another question would be which athletes should be paid, and how much should they receive? Would there be an open market for the athletes? Would high school recruits go to the highest bidder? There are other things we could do to help out the athletes, such as raises total scholarship money. There could be four year scholarships, rather than stressing out the athletes on whether their annual scholarship will be renewed. The National College Players Association collaborated with Drexel University’s sports management program on a research project and came up with some shocking details. The study blames the college sports scandals on the unethical and impractical NCAA restrictions that are on college athletes. The study conducted found the average shortfall of a “full” scholarship that is supposed to be provided by the university.

The study “compares the room and board portion of players” scholarships to the federal poverty line and coaches’ and athletic administrators’ salaries, and uses NFL and NBA collective bargaining agreements to estimate the fair market value of FBS football and basketball players.” According to the study, the average out of pocket expenses for each player on “full scholarship” was $3,222 during the 2010-2011 school year. The study concluded the average value of an example of a particular school. Duke basketball players were valued at $1,025,656 while just living $732 above the poverty line and a scholarship shortfall at $1,995. For College football there are many good or even great reasons why pay for play won’t happen. How about paying for a 6 foot 6 inch tall, 325 pound offensive lineman’s meals.

We don’t have to because the school does, and that’s at least $500 dollars per month. When an athletes accepts a scholarship, they receive free insurance, and good insurance would generally cost about $400 dollars a month, go ahead and multiply that by the amount of people that are on the team and that’s alot of money. Players get free publicity and it is all provided by the school. It would cost a fortune to hire an agent or get that publicity for yourself. On away games the school pays for everyone’s travel. I personally would love to go to California for free, or Hawaii for example. Free housing is important as well. With all the families with no houses due to foreclosure, there’s no doubt about where the athletes are staying. They can chooses to live on campus for free, or receive a housing allowance they can use to spend on a house/apartment off campus. Bottom line with college athletes is that they are paid, just not like professional athletes. As I have said before housing allowances are built into college scholarships and the amount varies for each school. For Example, a player for South Carolina get $500 per month for off campus activities while a player from South California gets $1000. Let’s say that two players on South Carolina’s football team gets an apartment off campus and it’s $700 for rent each month.

With that being said each player pays $350 for rent and pockets $150 every month. What do you think that player spends his money on? It isn’t food, players get to eat free on campus, and get a meal allowance off of campus. For example, at Boston College the meal allowance is $41 per day. Lets say the player only uses $30 of that, that’s $11 extra everyday and multiply that by the days of the month and there’s roughly another $350 per month in money the player pockets. Athletes do the same thing for book allowances by buying books, then just pocketing the difference and making even more money. Whether or not student-athletes should be paid is the wrong question that’s being asked. The question that people should be asking is, How has the NCAA gotten away with not fully compensating the main attraction to college sports, which is the players? Even people who work at high ranking jobs for the NCAA know the wrongs of the situation.

The NCAA preaches amateurism as their most important rule. Walter Byers, former executive director of the NCAA, was quoted saying “Amateurism is not a moral issue; it’s an economic camouflage for monopoly practice.” The NCAA is well aware of this problem and there is realistically nothing they can do about it. The shame in this situation rides with the highly educated leaders of the NCAA who take advantage of student athletes each and every year. Pay for play will be a strong topic for debate until both sides can agree on a solution. People have their opinions set on their respective sides and valid arguments can be made for each side. With all of that being said, I personally believe that the student-athletes are being compensated enough. Everyone wants to focus on the negatives saying they don’t get this or they don’t get that, but in all reality student-athletes are very fortunate to be in the position they are in.

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