The Contributions of Student Athletes in Bringing Money to Schools and the Issue Surrounding the Payment of College Athletes

Within the past few years, the question of whether college athletes should be paid or not has created much attention for those concerned with NCAA regulations. Specifically Division I schools have these concerns; they are the teams contributing in the bowl games and March madness aired on national television. The student athletes are the ones bringing in the money for the school with their successful program but are simply rewarded with scholarships for their academic careers.

In some cases the students do not even attend class they are given private tutors in order for them to focus strictly on their sport. The student-athletes are in the gym 24-7 dedicating everything to their perspective sport. They have goals to be the best and will do all it takes to be NCAA National Champions. College athletes commit more of their time to athletics than to academics; they have athletic scholarships to help pay for their tuition when they do not even attend class like their peers. The athletes are raising money for their school in so many different ways yet they receive no endorsements. College athletes deserve to be paid for all the effort they put forth the represent their college or university.

The article posted in the National Review, “Should College Athletes Get Paid?”, Duncan Currie makes the argument that if colleges are treating these college athletes as full time athletes than they should be rewarded. He adds that athletes participating in events such as March madness and the bowl games for football are “violating NCAA regulations if a star quarterback sells even one autographed jersey” (Should). With this in mind Currie is trying to prove that these athletes dedicate all hours of the day to their respective sports so he considers them “employees” (Should). Although some students have scholarships, they are not getting paid for the work that they put forth, and they are simply getting rewarded with a scholarship that does not necessarily cover all college essentials. He is arguing that college athletes should be paid but he claims that, “to pose these questions is to realize that is simply unfeasible.”(Should) Therefore, he is stating that the NCAA rules are currently flawed preventing them as of now to be paid.

Currie brings up a very strong point questioning why coaches receive endorsements but the athletes are not permitted to make money for the work they put forth daily. The athletes are the individuals playing the game, putting everything out there to achieve the highest possible position. They dedicate every aspect of their day to the sport in which they are playing. Not only are they attending team practices but they are in the gym lifting, putting in all they have to make sure they are in top shape compared to their opponents. These athletes should be rewarded for their hard work and dedication. Currie uses PBS to support his idea that scholarships are indeed valuable but do not cover all college expenses stating, “the average scholarship falls about $3,000 short of covering and athletes ‘essential college expenses” (Should).

Division I coaches are bringing in about a million dollars each year for the success that their athletes are working every day for. They sign 6 figure deals with clothing companies such as Nike, Adidas, Underarmer, ect. The coach is being paid to have their team in such attire even though s/he is not wearing the article of clothing. The athletes are the ones representing the companies yet they are receiving no reward; not even a couple hundred dollars from the hundred thousand dollar deal the coach signed. The athletes need this money, they do not have time to work a part time job they are dedicated 100 percent to their perspective sport.

Also, the chance of them being at risk for injury is higher than an average college student. If they were to receive just a small amount of money for the hard work they put forth it would help if an accident were to arise. Currie then quotes University of New Haven business professor Allen Sack, a former Notre Dame Football player, to prove his evidence is convincing. Sack is not only a reliable source but he also was an athlete and saw firsthand what it was like to dedicate every day to a sport and get no income. Sack argued, “no good reason exists for preventing athletes from engaging in the same entrepreneurial activities as their celebrity coaches” (Should) explaining that they should be endorsed for their likeliness as an athlete.

The problem of how the payment system would work for a given team is what causes conflicts in what could be the future of college sports. Currie raises the question, “who would decide whether the All-American linebacker deserved more money than the All-American wide receiver, or whether the star point guard was more valuable than the star power forward” (Should) to pose that paying college athletes can in fact be difficult. Although it will be difficult it can be done. College athletes are dedicating their lives during college to their perspective sport, just like Olympians dedicate years of training for the Olympics, getting rewarded for their accomplishments by being paid. Comparing these athletes may seem farfetched but in reality there are Olympians playing in the NCAA. This year the Princeton Field Hockey team won the National Championship; the team contained two returning Olympians. Not only are these two young women receiving scholarships to play at Princeton but they have received money from playing in the Olympics. If the NCAA has individuals that are that talented to compete at the Olympic level then they should be rewarded for their abilities as an athlete in the NCAA.

College athletes are young adults, they are beginning the next chapter in their lives and therefore they need all the extra money they can earn. Although some of these athletes are extremely talented they may not have the chance to play at the professional level. Currie understands that it difficult to pay college athletes but he wants it to be possible for those not going into the pros to get the education they spent the last four years in college attempting to do with such a devotion to their sport. He concludes, “they should at least give those athletes the financial mean to return for an extra year of schooling and complete a degree after their playing days are over” (Should) in a way to pay back the athletes for their hard work over the last four years.

To support his idea Currie refers to a former Penn basketball player Stephen Danley about the option of paying college athletes with a fifth year of school. Danley explains “many student athletes competing at the highest levels just do not have the time to handle a normal academic load” (Should) therefore the extra year will allow then to catch up and earn a degree strictly focusing on academics. The only concerning point in Currie’s article is his stance on athletes being prepared for higher education. He claims, “some players were never adequately prepared for higher education in the first place and wouldn’t be attending university at all if not for their skills on the field or court” (Should).

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