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Running Head: College Athlete Treatment

The Treatment of College Athletes

Jared Bustillos
University of Texas at El Paso

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The question about whether or not college athletes are treated fairly is something that has
been discussed a lot over the years. There are many rules that can protect and benefit the athletes.
Some people do not have the same opinions about whether or not these athletes are treated fairly
or even if some of these rules are meant to protect the athletes at all. We will cover some of these
rules, look at how the NCAA deals with these rules, and examine different opinions about this
issue in this literature review.

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There are many NCAA college athletes that believe that they deserve to be compensated
in some way for all the work they put in to their games and also because they believe that they
are a big part of why their respective universities bring in so much money. This is the main
question when determining whether or not these athletes are treated fairly. These athletes are not
the only people that believe this. Even though there are a large number of people who are in
favor of these college athletes getting compensated, there are also many people who believe that
it is not necessary. This belief is usually supported by pointing out that these college athletes are
being compensated through the scholarships that they receive for playing for their universities.
There are even groups that are dedicated to trying to change the NCAA rules regarding the
compensation of college athletes. Besides the questions regarding compensation, there are also
some other questions that can and should be examined when trying to determine whether these
athletes are treated fairly. These questions are:
1) Should college athletes be paid?
2) What are the NCAA rules that keep college athletes from being compensated?
3) What are some things that the NCAA provides that help college athletes?
What are the NCAA rules that keep college athletes from being compensated?
The NCAA states that they value amateurism in college sports and that the purpose of
these amateurism rules is to preserve an academic environment in which acquiring a quality
education is the first priority and that the young men and women competing on the field or
court are students first, athletes second. There are also rules that say that the athletes can lose
their amateur status before they enroll in college by accepting gifts, money, or other things that
are not necessary if those gifts are from boosters, people that support the universitys athletic

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programs, or the universities themselves. This is also true for current student-athletes. They are
not allowed to take any gifts or financial support above the NCAA limit. These rules are even
enforced after the athlete has moved on from the university.
For example, in 2005, Reggie Bush rushed for 1,740 yards and 16 touchdowns and won
the Heisman trophy, but five years later, in 2010, the NCAA said that Reggie Bush received
lavish gifts from two fledgling sports marketers hoping to sign him and that the men paid for
everything from hotel stays and a rent-free home where Bush's family apparently lived to a
limousine and a new suit when he accepted his Heisman Trophy. This resulted in Reggie Bush
having to return his Heisman trophy to the NCAA. The NCAA also punished the University of
Southern California football team, even though Bush no longer attended the university. They
gave the USC team a two year postseason ban, which means they were not allowed to participate
in bowl games, and also that they could give out 10 less scholarships each of those two years.
This shows that the NCAA does not take these rules lightly and how rules like these can be
disliked by many people, not just the student-athletes. This also shows how the NCAA is not just
against the universities or boosters giving the players money, but how the NCAA does not allow
the athletes to earn money due to their status outside of the sports or school either. This has
brought into question the purpose of these rules. The NCAA maintains their stance on
amateurism, though, and believes that it is best for the student-athletes in the end.

What are the things that the NCAA provides that help college athletes?
One benefit of playing for the NCAA is that the student-athlete can earn a full
scholarship, in many cases, that will pay for tuition and fees, room, board and all course-related

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books. Not all student-athletes receive a full scholarship, but many do. The NCAA also provides
high level training facilities and good medical options in case of injury. This includes the
Catastrophic Injury Insurance Program, which will pay for the medical need of a student-athlete
who has experienced a catastrophic injury. They also have the Exceptional Student-Athlete
Disability Insurance Program, which helps the athletes who have a professional future protect
that financial future. This helps protect the athletes money that they would have or should have
made from their professional sport if the athlete suffers a debilitating injury. The NCAA also has
a rule that says the coaches can only make the student-athletes practice for 4 hours a day. This
does not just include football practice. This includes weight training, required meetings initiated
by the coach, film study, and actual football practice. This is known as the 20 hour rule. Many
players do work outside of the required activities by the coach. This helps them stay competitive
and get better. Also some of these players are trying to compete at a professional level in the
future so a high amount of extra work is required to get to that level.

Should college athletes be paid?

There are many different opinions regarding this question. We will examine some of
these opinions and their reasoning behind what they believe. Jay Bilas, who is an ESPN analyst,
says that it's actually immoral to restrict only one class of person from benefiting to their level
of worth and also accuses the NCAA of changing their definition of amateurism over the years
and that the definition of amateurism is whatever the NCAA says it is. He also says that a
scholarship is like the school paying itself. He even says that paying student-athletes or
allowing them to make money might keep them in school longer. The graphics below show how
much money is made from some college football programs and college basketball tournaments.

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These graphics help make Jay Bilass point by showing the incredible amount of money that the
conferences make from just these two sports. There are some other views as to why athletes
should be paid. A Forbes writer, Marc Edelman, put out a list of 21 reasons that college athletes
should be getting paid and treated as employess. Some of these have been referenced earlier, but

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not all of them. The first reason is that athletes put in slightly more than 40 hours per week,
which is more that the average Americans work week. Another notable point is that coaches get
paid a large amount of money, but early on in college football, the coaches used to not get paid
for similar reasons that the students did not get paid. Ekow Yankah, a writer for the New
Yorker, agrees with Jay Bilas on some things. Ekow also believes that the NCAAs definition of
amateurism has come to border on farce. Ekow even notes that the football and basketball
programs bring in millions of dollars to their universities and that the argument in favor for
paying players is so searingly obvious as to seem undeniable, but Ekow does not a believe that
college athletes should get paid. He believes that paying student-athletes would take away the
popularity of college sports because the connection to the athletes would be less and that it would
take away the belief that these athletes greatness has to come at a price. A different view point
on this subject comes from John Thelin in an article written in the family finance section of He asks the reader to take a look at the option of paying the players a salary. He uses
100,000 dollars as an example of a salary for a player who would need about 65,000 dollars to
pay for school. He also says that the average scholarship will be worth about 65,000. This is not
the most that an athletic scholarship can cost, but it is also not the least. Scholarships will vary
depending on the university. The article points out that paying the players makes them employees
and subject to taxes. After doing the math and subtracting all of the taxes and fees that will come
off of the proposed 100,000 dollar salary, the amount comes out to about 65,100 dollars,
depending on the state. This only allows the athlete to have 100 extra dollars. He points out that,
from this angle, it may be better for the athlete to take the scholarship, but also examines how
much the scholarship will pay for. After taxes, because room and board are not deductible, the
scholarship will cover 64,380 dollars of academic expense. The salary does give a 720 dollar

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advantage, but then there is the fact that each player would get paid differently and might be able
to get the salary necessary to pay tuition.

In conclusion, there are multiple different opinions on this issue. Some of these opinions
are based off different sets of values. Some are based on the same values, but come to different
conclusions. There is no discussion about whether or not athletes should be compensated, but
there are questions about how they should be compensated. There are rules set in place to help
the student-athletes, but there are also rules that the NCAA has that may not be in the best interst
of the players. There is a lot of information about the NCAA and its rules and situations. There
are also many examples of its previously set precedents to try and inform people of what the
NCAA is about, but even with all of this information out there, this issue will most likely always
have different opinions about it.

"Amateurism." N.p., 24 Apr. 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.
James Williamson , Senior Writer Sep 16, 2010. "Five Reasons Why Reggie Bush's Heisman
Was Rightfully Vacated." Bleacher Report. N.p., 16 Sept. 2010. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.

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Edelman, Marc. "21 Reasons Why Student-Athletes Are Employees And Should Be Allowed To
Unionize." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 30 Jan. 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
Gaines, Cork. "CHART OF THE DAY: How Much Money Did Each Conference Earn In The
NCAA Tournament?" Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 12 Apr. 2011. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.
Gaines, Cork. "SPORTS CHART OF THE DAY: These College Football Programs Make The
Most Money." Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 28 Sept. 2011. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.
Peebles, Maurice. "7 Common Sense Reasons Why College Athletes Should Be Paid (According
to Jay Bilas)." Complex. N.p., 03 Dec. 2015. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.
Reisinger, By Adam. "USC Appeals Penalties, Accepts 2010 Bowl Ban." N.p., n.d.
Web. 20 Oct. 2016.
"Scholarships." N.p., 09 Dec. 2015. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.
"Student-Athlete Benefits." NCAA, 11 Sept. 2015. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.
The Essentials. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review, 2011. NCAA. Web. 30 Oct.
2016. <>.
Thelin, John R. "Here's Why We Shouldn't Pay College Athletes." Time. Time, 01 Mar. 2016.
Web. 30 Oct. 2016. <>.
Yankah, Ekow N. "Why N.C.A.A. Athletes Shouldnt Be Paid." The New Yorker. N.p., 14 Oct.
2015. Web. 20 Oct. 2016. <>.