Should College Athletes Be Paid Collegiate student-athletes spend countless hours a week training and competing in athletic competition while attending classes and studying. As you know, President Emmert, the push to implement a salary in addition to scholarships for student-athletes has sky rocketed in recent years due to monumental television contracts worth billions of dollars. Supporters of the payment of college athletes claim that the student athletes should be paid because they bring in millions of dollars of revenue to the universities, conferences, and NCAA, they are fully consumed in being a student athlete that it is impossible for them to maintain a part-time job, and by law the athletes are employees. Opponents of a wage believe that the scholarship and opportunity to attend college is more than enough to compensate for the athletes, almost all universities would not be able to afford paying student-athletes, and implementing a salary would be extremely difficult and become a logistical disaster. President Emery, it is crucial that the NCAA and yourself review each viewpoint critically and with an open mind. The future of collegiate athletics depends greatly on this decision and whichever decision is ultimately made, has the potential to completely change the blueprint of the NCAA and student-athletes. Supporters argue that being a student-athlete is a full time job and it should come with a stipend to account for the time spent being an athlete. Student-athletes can spend upwards of forty hours a week practicing, training, traveling, and competing (Zissou). After adding classes, studying, and homework, the young man or woman’s life is completely occupied.
Due to this excessive time commitment, it is nearly impossible for student-athletes to receive and maintain even a simple part time job. This leaves many student-athletes broke and unable to afford a relaxing night out on the town with friends. Unfortunately, this can even lead to crime amongst the student-athletes. A recent example occurred in February 2013. Three University of Alabama football players were arrested for allegedly knocking other students unconscious in order to steal their wallets, and another football player was charged with using a stolen credit card (Scarborough). The athlete using the credit card was caught after using the card to buy snacks from a vending machine. Yes, a vending machine. These student-athletes are so poor that they cannot even afford a cheap snack from a vending machine and they have to use stolen money to enjoy such a simple and cheap pleasure. Supporters do not condone these horrendous action by any means, but they do believe that even the slightest compensation for student-athletes would exponentially reduce robbery and burglary crimes committed by the athletes. Not only do athletes commit crimes, but they also have the urge to accept money and other benefits from boosters or agents which would clearly violate NCAA rules and regulations and penalize the individual athletes.
Supporters believe collegiate athletes have earned the right to a stipend from their hard work and time commitment, and now is the time to give it to them to prevent future crimes and NCAA rule violations. Proponents argue the players generate a colossal amount of revenue and, since, the athletes are the people actually competing and doing the work, they should get their fair share of the profits. As you know, CBS/ Turner sports signed a deal with the NCAA to broadcast the men’s basketball tournament, or “March Madness”, worth a mammoth ten point eight billion dollars. Similarly, ESPN made a deal worth over five-hundred million dollars to televise football’s Bowl Championship Series or BCS (Wilbon). Combined, all NCAA contracts for basketball and football exceed twenty billion dollars annually (Rose). These numbers are jaw dropping and it seems evident that there should be a piece of this huge money pool available for the players that make the events possible. The university, coaches, apparel companies, and everyone in between financially benefit from player’s performance, except the actual player. It is preposterous to believe that of the twenty billion dollars annually, a minuscule portion could not be given back to the players.
A mere thousand dollars per semester for student-athletes could go a long way towards keeping players out of trouble and not only improving the student-athletes’ lives, but also the families of the student athletes while only eliminating a small percent of revenue. On the opposite side of the argument, opponents believe a stipend for players is unnecessary and financially unrealistic for the universities. Despite massive television deals, endorsements, ticket sales, etc., most collegiate athletic departments generally are not profitable. In fact, only twenty-three of the two hundred and twenty-eight division one athletic programs earned a surplus. That leaves about ninety percent of programs losing money (Zissou). It is laughable to think the universities could actually afford to pay the players in addition to the scholarships and benefits they are receiving. In order to pay student-athletes, universities may be forced to cut less profitable sports (Zissou). Typically, only football, men’s basketball, and sometimes women’s basketball generate revenue at a particular university, so in order to pay student-athletes, less profitable sports such as tennis and track and field could potentially be eliminated (Dorfman). That would take away scholarships from many hardworking athletes.
Additionally, universities would most likely have to raise tuition prices for non student-athletes in order to cover the cost (Dorfman). Opponents believe that would be immoral to force students to add even more to the rising cost of tuition to account for athletes who are already receiving the same education for free. Opponents disagree with supporters and believe the adequate amount of money needed to play student-athletes is simply not within a majority of university’s budgets. Opponents also believe that athletes receive much more in benefits than just the value of a tuition from the scholarship. The benefits and perks of being a student-athlete include books, tutoring, housing, training, etc. Adding these advantages to the value of tuition can regularly exceed two hundred and fifty thousand dollars throughout a student-athlete’s four year college career (Dorfman). President Emery, you probably agree that education should be the top priority