Student-athletes Put in Work and Deserve to be Paid
The National Collegiate Athlete Association most widely referred to as the “NCAA,” was established in 1906 and as a nonprofit organization. In an article retrieved from JSTOR, “According to the NCAA constitution, the primary purpose of the organization are to promote intercollegiate athletics in the United States, “to maintain intercollegiate sports as a part of the educational program and the athlete as an integral part of the student body, and to retain a clear line of demarcation between intercollegiate athletics and professional sports.” (1299) Their bylaws impose outrageous restrictions by not allowing student-athletes the chance to enter the draft while they are still in college and will also revoke their scholarship if they or their family member are found guilty of accepting compensation in any form from a scout, coach, etc. So according to their constitution, this organization was created with the students best educational interest in mind and a not for profit over association. Fast forward a100 years, the NCAA’s constitution and by-laws have change but, the financial aspect of it has and the NCAA is banking a lot of money and the players are getting played.
On the other hand, the athletes get scholarships, free education, free housing, free meals and many other benefits after associating with NCAA, and above all, get a launching pad into the world of sports and; an opportunity to make it big in the professional league. The problem is that everyone involved in the NCAA is getting paid except for the people who are doing all the work. The NCAA is a billion dollars business so why shouldn’t the athletes receive of type of monetary compensation for their financial stake in the organization? Players are required to play by most of the same rules as paid professional athletes such wear specific brands of gear, drink certain brands of water and sports drinks, etc. while they are on the field and on camera, even their social media is scrutinized. Again, do everything the pros do except get paid.
The NCAA is one of the most lucrative money-making industries in the sports world. This “amateur” sports organization has been making over $5 billion, tax-free, dollars over the past five years from the blood, sweat and tears of young, college students. While the NCAA continuously oppose the issue of student athletes getting paid, the college coaches and directors earn million-dollar salaries off their backs. It is past time for this outdated rule to be changed and for student athletes to get for what they contribute to the NCAA. The NCAA use the word “amateur” to their own benefit. By definition an amateur is someone who not paid but it also means that incompetent but most of the student-athletes that play Division I sports are far from incompetent. The coaches work these student-athletes like a business owner work their employees.
All Division I and some Division II NCAA teams put in at least 40 hours a week participating in sports during the season as well as during the off season. Basically, they work more hours than a part-time employee and just as many as most full-time employees. As a member of a NCAA team, they are required to devote most of their time as a college student practicing, traveling across the country and playing ball games which leaves little to no time for any type of a normal college life. The NCAA coaches put the same emphasis on prepping for a game with the same importance as an employers’ treat getting the job done but, the players don’t get paid. Not only do the college players not get paid, but they also miss out on many normal college activities as well as lower the priority of their classes due to the rigorous game schedules that require them to miss class during the week because of weekend games. Their private lives revolve around the team. The athletes are the real heroes of the show. No one will come to see the game if the players are not up to the mark.
In addition to long hours, they also run the risk of getting injuries, sometimes career ending ones. It doesn’t make sense that the players are risking their health and lives for a sport that they give their all for and aren’t allowed to receive money from nor can they make a bid for the draft in hopes of getting paid. If they get hurt playing in a college game, they just lose out. If they remain healthy most top athlete’s get drafted but most of those who don’t make it have to stay in college so that they can get their degree in hopes of landing a decent paying job in their career choice. According to the NCAA, “amateurism” is a bedrock principle of college athletics. Maintaining amateurism is crucial to preserving an academic environment in which acquiring a quality education is the priority. In the world of college sports, the young men and women competing on the field or court are students first, athletes second (146).” Almost anyone that watch any type of college sport knows that statement is not true. If education was their top priority, then they wouldn’t let basketball players attend college for one year and then go straight to the NBA. They would require student athletes to either complete two to four years before being eligible to enter the draft. The top performers on the Division I teams are being marketed worse than the hottest gadget during Black Friday. The NCAA gets billions of dollars just because of these stars perform and their names are sold on merchandise of leading sport apparel manufacturers. These student athletes are required to make major sacrifices and give their heart for the NCAA and sometimes that is it for them and they are left banged up, have mental issues and struggling to make ends meet after college but the directors, coaches and agents are living in the lap of luxury.
A feasible solution to problem of NCAA student athletes not being allowed to receive money while they are students could be solved by paying a capped salary annually based how much the division or sports earned for the year. Another resolution is to put money in a trust for them for every year that they are eligible to play. The third option could be to increase the per diem across the board. Over past few years there have been several lawsuits filed against the NCAA fighting for compensation for Division I student-athletes. ‘Antitrust economist Andy Schwarz, a staunch advocate for reallocating more flush college sports revenues to athletes, envisions a scenario where schools reallocate 30% of incremental athletic department revenue growth to a fund that compensates athletes: 15% for male athletes, and 15% for female athletes. Schools can keep 70% of the new revenues, plus all old revenue ( Gregory2018).” If the student-athletes can’t be compensated then, the NCAA shouldn’t be allowed to make a profit by licensing products with a student’s name. The organization should only be able to receive money from ticket sales and school gear and not a dime from marketing the players.
The bottom line is that the NCAA is business. Their intentions may have been to promote amateur sports while helping young students get an education initially when they founded the organization but, now dollars signs are what they focus on. All Division I colleges send scouts out to recruit the top high school athletes in hopes that they can win tournaments, make it play offs and bowl games, so that they can get money from big sponsors. According to Forbes, “The four conferences that participated in this year’s playoff – the SEC, ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 – received $6 million apiece for qualifying, and even those in the non-playoff Big Six bowls get $4 million per team, but there’s no prize for making, or winning, the championship (Smith 2017).” These profits were made just for qualifying and even though they don’t get money for winning a championship; they get millions from the television network that broadcast the games, ticket sales and merchandise sales. The problem isn’t that the NCAA can’t afford to play their players but because they pay for their education but, the cost of a scholarship is nothing compared to how much money that they colleges rake in each year. Also, most of the athlete-students don’t even complete a degree program if they’re good enough to go pro and the NCAA knows this but, they are concerned with winning and making money. At the end of the day, the NCAA makes more than enough money to distribute among all the college sports, pay bills, support other programs, compensate the staff and pay the athletes that bring in the money. They need to review and update their constitution and by-laws. The student-athletes who are putting in the hard, playing their heart out and sacrificing so much are trying to get rich, they are just wanting a little piece of the big pie.
Checkoff, Howard P.. Changing the Playbook : How Power, Profit, and Politics Transformed College Sports, University of Illinois Press, 2015. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/sfcollege-ebooks/detail.action?docID=4306056.
Gregory, Sean. “This Could Be The Last College Football Championship Game With Unpaid Players.” Time, 8 Jan. 2018, time.com/5088736/college-football-championship-2018-pay/.
“Sherman Act Invalidation of the NCAA Amateurism Rules.” Harvard Law Review, vol. 105, no. 6, 1992, pp. 1299–1318. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1341731.
Smith, Chris. “The Money On The Line In The College Football National Championship Game.” Forbes, 9 Jan. 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/chrissmith/2017/01/09/the-money-on-the-line-in-the-college-football-national-championship-game/#1fdb5ffb2777. Accessed 19 Nov. 2018.