Paying College Athletes?

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Teague Sauter
Red Group
5/23/13
Paying College Athletes?

College athletes drop out of school for the opportunity to become a professional, suffer injuries that last a lifetime, and those who fail to go pro often struggle in life due to their lack of a real college education. To compensate athletes for the revenue they bring their university, the NCAA must grant college athletes marketing and television rights to fairly compensate athletes.

This debate on whether or not to pay college athletes began when the NCAA was originally created under the name “Intercollegiate Athletic Association” in 1906, but has grown in recent years as universities and the NCAA continue to make more money than ever. In the early days players were often recruited and paid to play, and there are several cases where players weren’t even enrolled at the university (according to The Sport Journal9). However, as college sports gained popularity the rules changed, and instead of directly paying athletes schools began offering athletic scholarships. It was decided that there were would be very strict rules about compensating athletes and there were some absurd violations in the past. In 2009, 14 NCAA sanctions were brought down on the University of South Carolina because the school bought bagels for basketball players outside of approved meal times and because they paid for players to go bowling (according to AOL News15 ). These days many players do not want to have to play college sports and would much rather go straight to the pros.

One reason that the discussion on whether or not college athletes should be paid has heated up is the money made off of the annual NCAA Basketball Tournament. Millions of people tune in to watch these players put their bodies on the line for the national championship, and the NCAA just sits back and rakes in the money. Since it was first founded in 1939 this tournament has become the most important tournament in all college sports. The tournament earns $771.4 million dollars a year, which is 90% of the NCAA’s annual operating revenue, (according to ESPN6) and the players don’t see a dime of this money. Since the only reason people are tuning in is to watch the players, doesn’t it make sense that they should receive some of the money? Many athletes know that they are being exploited but they never dare to challenge the NCAA. Jalen Rose, a former University of Michigan basketball player, spoke out against the NCAA in a 2011 article in the Huffington Post saying, “Universities view athletics as a business and an opportunity to grow their brand and make money.” The idea of college athletics being a business is a concept shared by many college athletes and these days being an athletic director is very much like being a CEO. Except with college athletics all of the labor is free.

Of the 100’s of millions of dollars that schools make off of athletics every year the employees don’t see a cent, and the idea of this upsets some athletes. One player who was very against the idea of college athletes being used as moneymakers was Chris Webber. Webber, a University of Michigan basketball player, was involved in a scandal in the early 1990s that lead to several sanctions against the university. When Webber was on campus he often was upset about seeing jerseys with his name on it being sold for $75 in university stores while he was living off microwave hotdogs (according to ESPN Films15) . Webber left the school after his sophomore year but in 2002 a scandal was uncovered. Webber was convicted of receiving over $200,000 during his time as a student from a booster named Ed Martin; this made it clear that the university was guilty of major violations. The Final Four banners were removed and one of Chris Webber’s teammates, Jimmy King, said this on the subject, "The day they took the banners down was the worst day of my life, It tore a hole in my heart." If Webber had been paid for his jersey sales or for his appearances on...
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