Just imagine being an athlete a part of an association that produces nearly Eleven Billion dollars each year and receiving none of it, that is exactly what every NCAA athlete faces. College sports highly increase the popularity of a College. In fact, most high-ranking Division One Colleges are known for their basketball, football, baseball team…Etc. According to NCAA rules, “You are not eligible for participation in a sport if you have ever: Taken pay, or the promise of pay, for competing in that sport” (NCAA Regulations 1).
In essence, this makes it very hard on these college athletes to pay for their tuition especially those individuals coming from a low-income family. These athletes sometimes end up being paid under the table by the school just so they will continue to attend and represent the school on the field, or the court. Many argue that college athletes shouldn’t be paid as they are just amateurs representing their schools and receive scholarships, however these athletes must be paid to save the integrity of college athletics and the respect to the athletes themselves.
College athletes work hard at their specific craft each and every day and sacrifice so much of their time to represent and help bring money to the Universities they attend, even when their particular sport is over for the year these athletes are still working on bettering themselves and are still participating in team events, which takes time away from their studies and other activities. Student athlete’s hard work and dedication seems to go unnoticed especially for those athletes who don’t end up going pro.
According to Sanderson, Allen, and John J, Siegfried. “The NCAA and its members collectively fix college athletes wages. The NCAA is granted power to dictate compensation and hours of work”. (124) The NCAA has almost total control of these athletes and what amount of income they are allowed to have. Student athletes are considered amateurs so they are not paid, where as if they were paid, then they would be considered pro athletes, however, there are many other sports that have amateur leagues in which the athletes are paid so in hindsight it just does not make sense and seems unfair to these athletes not to be paid for their talents and beneficiaries to their College.
These college athletes are defined as student-athletes and according to Lodge, Alexander “To be eligible to compete, you must be in good academic standing according to the standards of your institution be enrolled in at least a minimum full-time baccalaureate degree program and maintain satisfactory progress toward that degree, be enrolled in a full-time graduate or professional degree program (not less than eight-semester or quarter hours) or be enrolled and seeking a second baccalaureate degree at your institution”.(776) Although there is the argument that student-athletes are given the gift of education especially those with scholarships, It seems hard to believe that a student-athlete can completely focus on their education fully while having to travel across the country to play games as well as go to practice every single day. These athletes barely have time for rest so how are they expected to be able to focus on grades and acquiring degrees to meet the NCAA student-athlete requirements. Some of these student-athletes are thrown into the easiest classes so they can easily meet the requirements, however this hurts the athlete’s education and doesn’t look very well for the school. Now, this may not matter for those athletes who eventually turn pro and get paid, but for those who don’t make it pro the end up having a useless degree and thousands of dollars in student debt. Many athletes are talented enough to go straight to the pros however the professional leagues such as the NFL and NBA “restrict new player entry into their leagues.”(Sanderson et.al 125)
Hundreds of thousands even millions of fans watch college sports and some have merchandise such as T-shirts, jerseys with a certain player’s number on it. Most would think that that certain player would get a percentage of the profit from the merchandise that represents them, however, they’d be wrong. EA Sports, a gaming company used to make highly popular college football and basketball games that would consist of the team’s roster from whatever year the game was made. NCAA was using athlete’s names in the game without permission or compensation. In 2009 the O’Bannon lawsuit was filed, that argued athletes apart of the game should receive some type of compensation for having their name be in the game. According to Steve Eder an investigative reporter for The New York Times “The plaintiffs named in the case including O’Bannon a former UCLA Basketball player got incentive payments ranging from $2,500 to $15,000.” The final College sports game that EA Sports produced was NCAA Football 2014.
Many claim that college athletes should not be paid because it fails to recognize the value of sports as a part of education. This value can be seen however, in the “countless number of student-athletes, who pour hours of work into training and competing with no hope of going pro” (Lodge, Alexander 778). Similarly, many of those in even the biggest sports show dedication to their sport and education long after it is clear that they will never be professionals. Many of these athletes main goal are their sport and many are required to attend college and not go straight to pros. How are these athletes supposed to be focused on education when all they do is dedicate all their time to their sport? The ones that don’t intend on going pro need the money to support themselves through college.
The last reason is that paying the athletes will ensure that they will complete their college degrees. “Paying student-athletes would provide athletes an incentive to stay in school. This bonus will create that incentive for students to stay in school and complete their degrees, instead of being one and done.”(Sanderson et.al 125) The NCAA prides itself on that student-athletes are students first and athletes second, however, it seems that more popular athletes leave early for the pros, they want money and need it as soon as possible. The importance of their education is lost. These athletes need to be paid in order to keep the legitimacy of what a college/student-athlete is and to respect their talents and what they bring to their respected schools.