I watch as my coaches get checks for millions of dollars written in their names for the work that I do. I need to get paid.
I watch as my fellow students finish their classes and head to their jobs and internships while I head to practice.I need to get paid.
I watch as my school profits off for using my likeness and name to promote the University while I fail to see a cent of the proceeds. I need to get paid.
I watch as the NCAA makes eleven billion dollars and proceeds to tell its membership schools that it is against regulations to pay their student-athletes. We need to get paid.
The current system in place for the NCAA in which student-athletes are not allowed to receive compensation beyond an academic scholarship is debilitating. We put in hours of work each week on the field, in the weight room, and watching film on top of a rigorous academic workload and receive zero reimbursement for our efforts. At certain schools, like the Ivy League, student-athletes are not even given an athletic scholarship for our endeavors. An “offer” from one of these institutions is akin to volunteering to use forty hours of your week to make money for other people.
Regular students are able to get jobs during the school year, a luxury that student-athletes who also need the money cannot afford. In order to buy basic needs such as food, tooth paste, and laundry detergent we are forced to rely on the charity of our parents, a source of income that is simply not feasible for some.
Running from class to try to catch the bus to the athletic facilities, the only food option is a quick grab from a food cart or fast food restaurant. As I pull out my cash or card to pay for my meal, I think about my wasted dining plan which only covers the school’s cafeterias, buildings that are almost impossible to get to during my hectic schedule. Skipping meals instead of eating out is not an option as student-athletes are constantly being nagged by their coaches and team nutritionists about their weight. If the NCAA allowed schools to pay their players, this constant struggle for food would be nonexistent.
One of the main arguments that people make against paying student-athletes is that athletes in certain sports that do not have as big of a viewership such as lacrosse and golf would not receive as much money as the big-sport athletes that play sports like football and basketball. I believe this is not a bad thing. In the “real world”, people receive a wage proportional to the value of their industry. Those who work in higher revenue industries make more money than those who do not. As such, student-athletes who play bigger sports and thus bring higher revenues to their schools should be paid more than others.
Is it fair that the main commodity that the NCAA sells is sports, and yet they do not pay the ones that actually play them? Is it fair that coaches receive bonuses based on their players’ performances and yet the athletes do not receive anything? Is it fair that schools reap the benefits of their athletic programs yet none of the revenue is shared with their members? The answer is no, and the NCAA needs to change its policies to allow the paying of student-athletes.