Should College Athletes be Paid?

Published: 2019-08-28 12:46:52
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Every year, during the national basketball and football sports, there rises a debate on whether college students should be paid. The arguments mainly revolve around the perspective that Theodore Roosevelt founded the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for supporting students financially. In addition, the non-profit organization receives high revenues due to the efforts of the students. The players have taken the issue to court several times. The 2015 ruling stated that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) should increase the scholarship payouts, in that there is coverage of the full college cost. However, it denied students the right to receive payment (Yankah). This paper compares and contrasts the arguments that support the notion that college athletes should be paid to those that are against.

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One of the reasons why college athletes should be paid is because the sports fetch very high revenue for NCAA. For example in 2014, the firm recorded $989 million income (McCauley). By being a non-profit firm that was established solely for helping students, the organization has an obligation of making payments to the students. However, this is not the case, as the sports seem more beneficial to the coaches and the schools. To illustrate this, NCAA coaches earn approximately $100,000 per year. The University of Tennessee invested in sports and hired experienced couches to help raise the performance of students (Listland). Consequently, there would be increased intake of students, thus elevated profits. In addition, the organization acquires high profits due to the athletes. Without them, the organization could not be able to generate the large revenues.

The students also spend a considerable time on the sports. On average, each athlete spends 43 hours while practicing. Since the curriculum time averages to 10 hours a week in class and 40 hours of study, the sportspersons work for 90 hours per week to retain their scholarships. The time spent is more than the standard American working time, where a person is required to work 40 hours per week. This means that the students spend time equivalent to two full-time jobs and weekend jobs. However, the only compensation they get is the scholarship. This rewards system is unfair as it has little consideration for the work input of the athletes. NCCA should, therefore, review the system, and develop a salary program that incorporates these factors (Listland).

Besides the NCAAs responsibility of paying the young sports persons, there should be more consideration for the financial needs of the athletes. The largest population of these youths are African Americans. They have a poor background where the parents cannot afford their education nor maintain them through the four years of campus. As a result, most target at joining sports to acquire the NCAA scholarships. The increased engagement to practice results in increased attendance. Since NCAA considers the performance level to offer the scholarships, most persons result to cheating in exams. In some cases, coaches engage in the unethical practice to retain the best players that would raise the chances of winning (Yankah). To avoid the incorporation of the unethical practices, NCAA should separate academics from sports. The separation could be through paying the athletes.

Although the athletes are usually on a full scholarship, there are many costs associated to the life in colleges. For the athletes, for example, they often find themselves missing the university meals as they practice. Since they do not handle cash, they end up starving or using their own money to cater for their bill. The underprivileged students find a hard time meeting the expenses. Salary remuneration would help the students acquire money management skills. By making a living, the young people would have to learn how to strategize and prioritize their expenditure. They would learn to save for the time when they would not have a paying game. They would be able to apply the practical skills in the future (listland).

McCauley (2015) claims that college athletes should not be paid but rather compensated. The rewards should be through fair scholarships. By receiving free education, they would not have to worry about stationary, meal plans, cost of living in campuses, and student loans. As a result, there would not face the problems pertaining finances that most students face as they leave school. In Pennsylvania, for example, 71% of students complete their studies with a debt of approximately $33,000. The young people feel the impact of the economic burden since they are unable to secure job positions immediately after graduation. Most students would find it more beneficial to join sports within the four years of schooling it meant that they would not face the financial challenge after school.

Another reason why college students should not receive payment is due to the ambiguous process of determining the amount of funds allocated to the persons who play. If NCAA were to decide that all the athletes would receive the same amount, the process would seemingly be unfair. This is because some games attract more attention than others do. For instance, the National basketball and football are popular in the country. However, there are sports that are not aired on the television due to their reduced popularity. On the other hand, if NCAA decided to pay athletes depending on the level of importance of the sport, the process would still be viewed as unfair. Some athletes would not receive any payment, while yet it is not their fault that there are only a few people interested in the game (McCauley).

Persons who embrace the thought that students should not receive any payment refute the argument that NCAA has a fiscal revenue that could issue salaries to the athletes by claiming that NCAA embraces a strong business model. The organization implements strong marketing strategies that attract consumers, thus generation of high profits. Instead of persons being caught up by the revenue level only, they should consider the free college education that the athletes receive. NCAA, therefore, does not exploit the college students to increase revenues, rather, the organization targets at increasing revenue to cater for the financial needs of the athletes. In addition, through being aired through televisions, the young people market themselves. For this reason, they get a platform where they can display their talents and become professionals in the sport (McCauley).

Yankah (2015) supports the ideology that college athletes should not be paid. He claims that by paying students, there would be a shift on the consideration of the athletes as students. They would be more of part-time undergraduates with careers as athletics. This is because they would have to practice like the professionals, where they have to put more practice time. Although it seems essential for the sportspersons to receive payment, since most come from a humble background, it is important for individuals to consider sports as an academic activity. In schools, games are part of the co-curriculum activities. They aid in the development of the students, both physically and psychologically.

In conclusion, it evident that there has been the commercialization of college sports in America. This has resulted in NCAA, coaches, and schools acquiring large financial benefits. On the other hand, students receive compensation through full-time scholarships. Where there are claims that there should be consideration of the distribution of economic benefits, persons should access other benefits the college students receive, such as popularity. Also, the ambiguous process of allocation of funds could result in more conflicts.

Works Cited

Listland. Top 10 reasons college athletes should be paid. 2015. Web. April 11, 2016.

McCauley, Kieran. College athletes shouldnt be paid. 2015. Daily Local. Wb. April 11, 2016.

Yankah, Ekow. Why NCAA athletes shouldnt be paid. 2015. New Yorker. Web. April 11, 2016.

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