Pay for play in college sports has been a long-standing debate. The proponents of this argument like to claim that athletes should be paid because they are performing. Over the last decade, the debate and research of whether or not college athletes should be paid has intensified. Universities bring in hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars to their athletic programs each year. Many coaches earn at least $100,000 per year to coach one of the major sports like baseball, basketball, or football school.
The flip-side of this is that not all sports teams are profitable. For example, some less popular teams like swimming, tennis, or volleyball don’t earn universities much money.
When President Theodore Roosevelt helped create the NCAA in 1906, he had no idea what it would grow into. But now in the 21st-century, the NCAA is a billion-dollar company. One would question why we haven’t changed along with the industry. According to ESPN.com article “College Football Players Deserve Pay for Play.
”; “It’s time to end the charade of amateurism in college football and let the athletes share in the spoils of this multibillion-dollar entertainment industry. According to published reports, at least 42 of the hundred 19 coaches indivision one a earn more than 1 million per year. At least nine receive more than 2 million annually. In the BCS conferences the average coaching salary is 1.4 million.”
With so much revenue and compensation going to the universities and coaches’ players have an absolute right to feel exploited. The rationale that the student athletes are amateurs and are receiving an education equivalent to their athletic labor doesn’t even out.
It’s not the same. As quoted in Bagaria, Akash, and Adele Birkenes. “Pay to play: should college athletes be paid?” Current Events, a Weekly Reader publication 6 Feb. 2012: 7. Academic OneFile. Web. 2 Mar. 2018.” Colleges offer employment in other areas, so why not athletics? Michael Polak, a sports writer for the Charleston Gazette and a resident of Charleston, W.VA., agrees. ” All colleges have work-study programs, so students can work in the library or get paid for their services, “he says, referring to a federal program that allows students to earn tuition money by working for their schools. “I see athletics on the collegiate level just like a work-study program.” Often college athletes are unable to maintain part-time jobs while focusing on athletics and school. This forces those college students into relying on student loans and partial scholarships. Not only do they suffer financially but as well physically and socially.
As stated, in news article Meshefejian, Krikor. “Pay to Play: Should College Athletes Be Paid?” The Journal of the Business Law Society 23 Mar. 2005: “The social cost of college sports are high, and increasingly, they also cry out for major change. One social cost of college sports is the exploitation of athletes by colleges and universities. A prominent example of athletic exploitation in colleges history of using the physical talents of athletes for four years, then, when the athletes have exhausted their eligibility,casting them to the winds without a degree or marketable skills other than athletic talent, which will take only a fortunate few to the NFL or to the NBA.”
After further researching, one area that is grossly overlooked is athletic physical injuries. There is no rule requiring the schools or the NCAA to pay for injuries. Even though injuries happen in NCAA tournaments, even though they are televised and even though they are from some of the nation’s richest teams, there is no requirement that the school or the NCAA pay one penny toward medical expenses. It’s all optional. The NCAA has a death benefit of $25,000 and each case is different. It has to be a qualifying event. While some colleges and universities choose to pay for uncovered injuries it is never guaranteed and highly unlikely, that they will take care of long-term injuries that go far beyond the athletes four-year university commitment.
While playing sports in college, it isn’t uncommon to see medical trainers tape up teammates’ bruised ribs or administer cortisone shots so that athletes want have to sit out a game. Athletes place themselves in danger of long-term injuries with each game played.
In health.usnews.com article “For Many College Athletes, the Payoff is Lifelong Disabilities.” it is documented “The study also found that 70 percent of athletes said they had practice or played with an injury, compare with 33 percent of non-athletes. Forty percent of athletes were diagnosed with osteoarthritis after college, compared with 24 percent of non-athletes.” The former college athletes also had higher levels of depression, fatigue and poor sleep than non-athletes, according to the study, which was published recently in the?American Journal of Sports Medicine.
The debate of paying for play in college athletics has been ongoing since the 1990s. As college sports continues to grow and be lucrative the debate will as well continue. ESPN.com reports “While there may not be interest in paying players, the NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors has twice approved a rules change that would allow schools to give athletes a stipend to cover expenses not covered by their scholarship — clothes, travel, meals out with their friends. But the full membership has overridden it, with some smaller schools saying they were not interested or did not have the money to pay stipends.”
With road blocks to change and the guiding principle of the NCAA being sports for students, we are evoking conversation that will continue to challenge the ongoing debate. The key players, like NCAA board members and university presidents lack the pressure or need to change for the benefit of the athletes. “The Ninth Circuit made it clear as well that the Association isn’t required under antitrust law to provide any sorts of benefits untethered to education,” said NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy.“Their language supported the principles of amateurism, and it is consistent with our values and our mission.”
All the research, outcomes, and statistics prove the risk far greater than the benefits of playing college athletics. However, the age-old mindset of the NCAA coupled with the camaraderie of being a part of the college sports arena keeps the pool of non-paid athletes continue to produce and play for free while entertaining and making coaches, universities and networks millions.