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RUNNING HEAD: Athletes Be Paid

Should College Athletes Be Paid


Logan Brennan
Madonna University

RUNNING HEAD: Athletes Be Paid

Abstract
College athletes should begin to be paid to play sports. They bring in a large amount of
money to their universities through games, tournaments, and championships. The NCAA also
generates large sums of revenue through advertising fees and TV deals among others. The
standards and rules athletes are held to are too strict for them to not be receiving pay. The
schedule of a student athlete is equivalent to that of a full time job when all of the practices and
workouts are added in. Student athletes are being treated unfairly by not being paid. Scholarships
alone are not enough to compensate athletes for the amount of money they bring in to the
universities. The time has come for student athletes to be paid for what they do.

RUNNING HEAD: Athletes Be Paid

Sports are one of the biggest money makers in the entertainment business. Athletes
dedicate countless hours of physical and mental work in order to perform to the best of their
abilities. The professionals are paid considerably well thanks in part to ticket sales and massive
TV deals, however, collegiate athletes go through similar rigors without the monetary benefits.
College athletes are demanded similar if not more of themselves between sports practices and
keeping up with classes for school. Universities reap all the benefits while athletes are used and
cycled out year by year. The argument has begun to pick up steam over recent years and there are
plenty of arguments supporting both sides to this issue. These kids dedicate hours working hard
to perfecting their talent without any guarantee that theyll get playing time. For a vast majority,
college will be the last time that they get a chance to play a competitive sport. Due to the
overwhelming amount of work that they dedicate themselves to, college athletes should be paid
to play.
Like professional sports, college sports generates a very large amount of revenue.
Of course some sports will draw in more money than others, however nearly all generate
advertising and ticket sales. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, is a nonprofit and tax exempt organization that makes as well as enforces the rules for the colleges
within the association. The NCAA gets large amounts of advertising money as well as money
made from championships and tournaments held in each of the sports. There has been questions
on why the NCAA needs to exist based on the claim that the colleges could easily do the jobs
that the NCAA does. For example when college football decided to change the format of bowl
games the NCAA played no part in the decision making process. The four team playoff
championship is not sanctioned by the NCAA. The NCAA has put the rule in place that athletes
cannot be paid, and as one of the reasons is because they are considered amateur and not

RUNNING HEAD: Athletes Be Paid

professional. The concept of amateurism can and should be re-assessed so that it does not
become obsolete in light of changed circumstances, such as the amount of money generated by
some college sports and the level of commitment many of todays student-athletes must make in
order to succeed. (Katz). They have also created countless other rules and regulations
restraining athletes from making any money at all off of their name as a college athlete.
Student athletes have been suspended for receiving free cars, jewelry, and even tattoos. There has
also been penalties enforced for an athlete selling items with his or her autograph on it. So not
only does the NCAA serve little purpose, it is making senseless rules limiting the athletes as
well.
The NCAA makes billions of dollars off of the student athletes in todays games.
Ticket sales to NCAA championship and tournament games bring in a big chunk of revenue.
There is also other big money makers such as TV deals and marketing or advertising fees. So the
question is if this is a non-profit organization and the athletes arent being paid, then where is the
money going? The NCAA says 96 percent of its annual revenue is returned to its member
schools either in direct payments or in programs and services. (Schlabach). The last four percent
is spent on the NCAA staff and other expenses which adds up to about 30.6 million dollars. The
NCAA supports operational expenses and student-athlete travel expenses for 89 national
championships in 23 sports. The association also provides catastrophic-injury insurance coverage
for all student-athletes and various scholarship, grant and internship programs. (NCAA). The
NCAA has created six sections in which to spend its money. The six are: academic enhancement,
basketball fund, conference grants, grants in aid, sports sponsorships, and student assistance
fund. Every one of these could be altered to find a way to set aside money to pay student
athletes. The NCAA is using this money on programs that are unfair to many of the universities

RUNNING HEAD: Athletes Be Paid

in the association. For example the basketball fund distributes money to schools who make the
NCAA basketball tournament based on performance. This leaves many of the smaller schools at
an impossible disadvantage to overcome. The powerful basketball schools benefit from this fund
year in and year out and yet still none of the money will even go to their basketball players. The
NCAA should alter the way they spend millions of dollars yearly in order to pay the athletes that
make them all of this money.
Universities also play a part in spending their money in ways other than to pay
athletes. Coaches are paid exceptionally well inking large contracts to lead sports teams. The
university also pays for them to go out and recruit kids to come play for their teams. These
coaches will receive bonuses for getting to the playoffs, winning championships, or breaking
school records. You know what athletes receive as a bonus? Nothing. (Hartnett). Athletic
directors are also signed to monstrous contracts as well to manage and bring down the hammer
on athletes. It would not be hard to cut back somewhat on these contracts in order to compensate
the players who are out on the court or field. It is ridiculous the amount of money the universities
are willing to spend on anything but to pay the athletes making them so much of the money in
the first place.
Student athletes also are held to extremely high expectations off the field. The
schedule of a student athlete can be overwhelming with all of the responsibilities. In a week there
are classes, practice, weight training, study hall, team meetings and if they are lucky some time
for hanging out with friends outside the team. The typical Division I college football player
devotes 43.3 hours per week to his sport 3.3 more hours than the typical American work
week. (Edelman). That doesnt even include the in season schedule where game days are often
a full eight hour day. Not to mention traveling for out of town games and being away from other

RUNNING HEAD: Athletes Be Paid

responsibilities. Students are forced to have teachers sign waivers excusing them from missed
classes. Essentially the commitment to be a student athlete is a full time job. Not just any full
time job, but a job where you are physically and mentally drained day to day. A job where your
position is always at risk depending on your performance. With the commitments these kids have
it is virtually impossible for them to have a job to make some spending money. The NCAA
restrictions also make having a job very difficult because athletes need to be extra careful not to
break any of the rules. They deserve to be paid some money due to the hectic schedule and grind
that they endure while playing their sport.
The strongest argument against paying athletes is that they already receive
scholarships to have their school paid for. Some dont even have to pay for their school at all if
they are the best athletes coming into the program. Many others get thousands of dollars toward
their school thanks to their athletic abilities and contributions to the team. This argument,
however, has multiple holes that are not being addressed. The ability to pay athletes could solve
some of the holes in this argument.
The first problem is that a full ride scholarship only adds up to around 20,000 dollars a
year. At first this seems like a lot but when you look into it theres another perspective. The same
amount of money could be made at a low paying job. However, with a job the money made
could be spent however the person chooses. The scholarship is restricted to paying for school. By
paying student athletes they would have some freedom to spend the money how they want.
Another issue is that a lot of the athletes receive little or no scholarship money at all.
Schools are restricted by the NCAA to a certain amount of scholarships and also a certain
amount of money per scholarship. It is understandable that some of the better athletes are
offered a higher amount of scholarship money. Pay for athletes would be equal across the board

RUNNING HEAD: Athletes Be Paid

though. This would greatly help these athletes to either help pay for the rest of their school or to
have extra money.
Some of the athletes who are fortunate enough to play in college arent so fortunate in
their at home life. Many of the kids come from under privileged families who make very little
money. The chance to earn money while playing a college sport would be a great opportunity to
provide for their family. Since most athletes do not end up going pro this would be their only
chance to earn money off of sports.
Another huge question would be if all the sports should receive the same amount of
money to pay their players with. Unfortunately the answer is no. In a perfect world all student
athletes would be able to be paid the same. If each sport were able to bring in a comparable
amount of revenue then the athletes could receive similar pay but they simply dont. The big four
sports of basketball, football, baseball and hockey bring in significantly more money than the
rest of the sports. These four consistently are televised and have big ticket sales for regular and
postseason games. Since these athletes are the ones bringing in such a large amount of revenue
they should receive a slightly higher pay than the rest.
By altering the rules to allow student athletes to make money they could even provide
that revenue themselves. By changing the restrictions the NCAA would be able to market
players names and merchandise. Jersey sales, other memorabilia and more would bring in a
whole new wave of money into college athletics. Enough so where players could begin to be
paid as they should be. The fact that athletes cant make money off of their own name in the first
place is outrageous. Student athletes should have a right to sell merchandise with their name in
order for them to make money.

RUNNING HEAD: Athletes Be Paid

It has also been proven that success in sports makes the university more desirable to
come to. Sports are a big reason why many other students choose to apply. The draw of a
successful sports team gives regular students events to attend and teams to cheer for. When
athletes have successful seasons the number of applicants rise. The university is growing and
making more money in part thanks to the sports teams.
It is time in college athletics for the student athletes to be paid. The rigorous schedules
and seasons they endure are just part of what makes them worthy of pay. They are not only
bringing in money directly from tickets and TV deals, but also indirectly by increased
admissions. Scholarships alone are not enough compensation for the massive dollar amounts that
student athletes bring into the universities. It is time for a change in college sports, the athletes
who are performing on the big stage deserve to be paid.

RUNNING HEAD: Athletes Be Paid

Bibliography
Schlabach, M. (n.d.). Retrieved April 6, 2015, from http://espn.go.com/collegesports/story/_/id/6756472/following-ncaa-money
Edelman, M. (n.d.). 21 Reasons Why Student-Athletes Are Employees And Should Be
Allowed To Unionize. Retrieved April 6, 2015, from
http://www.forbes.com/sites/marcedelman/2014/01/30/21-reasons-why-student-athletes-areemployees-and-should-be-allowed-to-unionize/
The NCAA Budget: Where the Money Goes. (2013, October 10). Retrieved April 6,
2015, from http://www.ncaa.org/health-and-safety/ncaa-budget-where-money-goes
Hartnett, T. (n.d.). Why College Athletes Should be Paid. Retrieved April 6, 2015, from
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tyson-hartnett/college-athletes-should-be-paid_b_4133847.html
Katz, R. (n.d.). Santa Clara Law. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from http://law.scu.edu/