Student Athlete Compensation
Paying college football players has been an ongoing debate since the early 1900s. It has been so controversial, because while a majority of athletes believe they should be getting paid, many of the general public, such as students and fans, do not agree. Student athlete compensation was only legal for a few years in the early college athlete days around seventy years ago, and since then it has been illegal. Some student athletes have been bribed by certain schools, and the ones who have accepted these bribes and have gotten caught have been punished by the NCAA.
Student athletes should not get paid because they already receive benefits and they are not at the pro-level yet.
Most student athletes are already receiving a free education to a major university, and that should be their reward. As stated in an article written by USA Today: A scholarship is worth, on average, about $29,000 a year. A college degree, over 40 years, is worth $1 million more in earnings than a high-school degree.
Not bad, if every athlete got a degree. Too many don’t. The six–year graduation rate of all Division 1 athletes who started college from 2001 to 2004 was 64%, according to the most recent Education Department data; football players in the top-tier lagged at 56%. That’s not far from the national graduation rate of 62% for all students, but rates vary tremendously among institutions.
That being said, student athletes should start showing more interest in graduating college than worrying about receiving a paycheck. If they work hard enough and end up making it to the pro level, then they will get the paycheck that they have been working hard and waiting for all this time, isn’t that what most players dream of since they were kids? Or is the money factor all that they care about now? USA Today also stated, “Ultimately, less than 2% of college football players end up in the NFL. They’ll do fine financially. For the other 98%, a meaningful college degree is more valuable than any other payment they might receive” (USA Today).
The intensity of the argument to pay college athletes has escalated in the past few years. Perhaps it is because of the current economic climate and everyone, including student athletes are looking for ways to make money, or maybe it is due to the outrageous coaches’ salaries and the money that colleges make from football bowl games and basketball tournaments. Regardless, this has magnified the fact that the athletes see none of these profits and then begin to wonder: “Where’s my share?” Indeed a fair question, but to understand this argument better, a healthy debate is needed. An article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “Paying College Athletes Is a Terrible Idea,” Mark Emmert writes, “Increasing the academic preparation of freshman and transfers, holding teams and coaches responsible for academic success, and requiring academic eligibility standards for post-season competition will promote real academic success.”
Lets think about how it would be if these athletes were to get compensated for their effort, and how much different if could possibly be. Consider college athletes did get paid, first off the NCAA doesn’t want to fork up all that money to pay these players that have been doing it for free for so many years now just because some players are complaining. If they are truly that upset about not picking up a paycheck then quit playing the sport. They obviously aren’t doing it for the love of the game because, if they did, then one: they wouldn’t be complaining, and two: if they are that confident and truly love the sport, they have just as good of a chance as the next guy to make it to the big leagues. There honestly is nothing positive in my eyes when I think of student athletes getting paid. It isn’t necessary and would ruin the passion for the game. When I say it would ruin the passion of the game I mean it in the terms of players only doing it for the money instead of truly being passionate about their sport and playing it for simply, the love of the game! I personally don’t know anybody who would like to see college athletes get compensated, everyone that I have talked to about the situation agrees that they get treated well enough in college with scholarships and whatever else they get that we don’t know about . The NBA and NFL are totally different leagues, and them getting paid makes sense because they made it to such an elite level and are literally the best of the best.
Big-time athletic programs (particularly football and basketball) produce in excess of $6 billion in annual income for our Division 1 colleges and universities. Since more and more money is piling in every year, advocates are asking the NCAA to cut the players in on the revenue pile. Reportedly, some major college athletes are angry at what they refer to as “unfair treatment.” Players feel as though they are being cheated out of their fair share of an ever-growing revenue stream. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. writes in the Baltimore Sun: Wow. I understand my athletic experience was not at the Division 1 level, but we’re still talking about an expenses-paid college education–that ticket to success in post-industrial America. In this respect, it is appropriate that folks remember the consideration given in exchange for the athletic talent on display: a four-year free ride at many of America’s leading universities. That brief sentence must sound pretty good to the millions of American families presently struggling to pay for their non-athletic child to live the college dream.
Student athletes should wait to make it to the pro-level before getting any sort of compensation. Since a majority are already receiving a completely free tuition to a major university, that should be their form of “payment.” It is obvious these big-time sporting events bring in massive amounts of revenue, but for which is used for their own schools such as paying for those with scholarships, sports events big or small, and even uniforms for athletes. It all goes back to the school. The NCAA needs to come out and make an official statement declaring that no college athletes will be getting paid anytime soon, until somebody comes up with a valid argument that it changes everyone’s minds. It is simple; college athletes need a degree, not a paycheck.
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