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Should College Athletes Be Paid?

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Stephen Salek

Cristina Trapani-Scott

English 101

31 March 2013

Should College Athletes Be Paid

Throughout the past ten to twenty years there has been a growing rumble of whether college athletes should be paid for the services they provide for the school.  At this time the NCAA and the colleges have not changed their view on not paying the athletes and I believe that this is the right decision.  If we were to pay these young adults for playing, a number of problems would occur, such as the athletes becoming greedy or wanting more money, conflicts arising due to unfair or bias decisions on which programs would get money, and which athletes get paid more. Also nobody ever brings up the fact that athletes are already being paid by way of a scholarship or how much a full ride scholarship entails.  The other side to this argument is that the young athletes are being exploited by a multi-billion dollar industry and that they are the only party not being reimbursed for the service they provide. 

If schools were forced to pay athletes two questions would arise: Where would the money come from? And which sports will be paid?  In case you were unaware the NCAA released financial data showing that there were only fourteen schools that made money for their colleges during the football season.  This means that the annual football revenue was higher than the cost of travel, meals, equipment, and everything elses total.  Only fourteen schools are able to return a profit to their schools so that the athletic department doesnt have to hand out money to keep the program running.  There have been athletic directors that have come out to confirm the report and say they are one of the fourteen schools and those schools are: Alabama, University of Missouri, University of Texas, University of Florida, University of Tennessee, Ohio State University, Nebraska, University of Michigan, Notre Dame and BYU.  So for these ten schools they could pay their athletes to play only football along with the four other unnamed schools that leaves 105 schools that would not be able to pay their athletes on their own profit alone.  So where will the money come from for the other 105 schools that cannot support themselves?

  That leads to the issue of which sports would be paid and who will get paid.  It would make sense that the football and basketball programs would be the athletes being paid to play at their school because they are the two programs that generate the most revenue.  The “NCAA is a multi-billion dollar industry and the ad revenue from March Maddens exceeds the Superbowl and the World Series combined” (RecrutingNation).  This means that the NCAA is by far the most profitable organization when it comes to revenue they make from what they pay back to everyone involved.  One of the major points is if athletes were to be paid is how do you differentiate between a star player and a scrub.  Many experts have said a way to determine how much you pay players is to let the market work it out, that depending on the need and the value of the player they would be paid more than the current backups or third string players on the roster.  But what about the other mens sports such as lacrosse, golf, hockey, tennis and what about the womens basketball, volleyball, lacrosse or even the softball teams  where will the money to pay these athletes come from and how much will they make?  If a college was recruiting a player and offered him a paycheck of x-dollars and then that recruit gets hurt during a spring practice then it seems like it would be a waste of money to pay that recruit if they are not performing.  There is also the issue of if you pay a player based on their overall performance and how much they help the team then they would be paid more than the other players on the team.  Well if this were to happen what if this player gets hurt and a redshirt freshman comes in and carries the team to a conference title, would the redshirt player be entitled to a raise? There are too many problems with paid players, for example the star of the Louisville mens and womens basketball team each lead their team to championships, but because the mens program makes more money than the womens program would the guy be entitled to more money because the womens team cannot bring in enough profit.  The idea of paying athletes is too much of a mess and is entirely too complicated and unfair to even try to figure it out at this point.  The NCAA has been around for seventy-four years and has run smoothly for the most part of those seventy-four years. 

Depending on the sport that the individual plays the amount that the scholarship is worth will differ.  If the athlete plays football and is an out of state athlete their scholarship is worth an average amount of $47,660 and for an in-state athlete its worth $38,838.50.  These totals are an average of the top football schools in the country for a single year on campus.  For the top basketball schools in the country an out of state athletes scholarship is worth $42,333 and an in-state athlete is $31,279.25 just for a single year on campus.  These scholarships cover room, board, books, and meal plans for the student-athlete.  The argument made by the athletes that they do not have time to earn money like other students through a job or other means is very true.  On the other hand the NCAA has made money available to the athletes as long as they take the time to fill out a few different forms and apply for a Pell Grant.  Now the Pell Grant is a federal grant so it does not need to be paid back after it has been used.  It is given to athletes who are from lower income families and their families do not have the means to provide them with financial support throughout college.  So through this Pell Grant which is worth up to $5,500 a year, the student can use it to spend however they want.  It is their spending money for the year.  Along with this Pell Grant comes clothing money that if the athlete qualifies for the Pell Grant they are also entitled to $500 dollars to spend on clothes that is provided through the conference that the student-athlete plays in, and they may use this money to spend on clothing of their choice.  There are also other means for an athlete to secure themselves other necessities that they may need such as a plane ride home, a tank of gas, or even a new pair of shoes because theirs were worn out or stolen.  So after all of these other means of financial security the athlete has been provided with upwards of $17,040 to spend or that has been used for that athlete so that they may have their room and board paid, books, meals, clothing, or anything else they may want or need.  This comes out to $1,420 a month that the athlete has to spend on anything then need or want.  Athletes say they need to be paid for the money they bring into the university because they dont have spending money, but if they took the time to apply for the necessary funds they wouldnt have to be paid. 

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