Should College Athletes Be Paid?

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Should college athletes be paid?
College sports provide a huge source of the universities' income. The school takes in money from ticket sales, television contracts, and sport-related merchandise, just to name a few. The athletes, however, receive their scholarship and little more. While the prospect of receiving a free college education is something few would complain about, when the issue is more closely examined it becomes evident that it is not enough. The trend for athletes is to leave school early for the professional leagues because of the money. There have been more reports of violations surrounding university boosters and alumni paying players. Furthermore, athletes have been accused of making deals with gamblers and altering the outcome of games. All of these problems could be minimized, by adopting a program for compensating student athletes. College athletes are exploited by their schools, which make millions of dollars off of them. The NCAA and professional leagues can work together to institute a plan to compensate these athletes and remedy all these problems. (165) Student athletes need money just like any other college students, and many of them need it even more. According to Steve Wulf, many college athletes come from disadvantaged backgrounds (94). The NCAA finally realized this recently and decided to allow athletes to have a job earning up to $2000 during the school year (Greenlee 63). This, while well intended, is an impossibility for many, if not the majority of college athletes. As Greenlee states, "The hours athletes would spend working at a job are already spoken for" (63). The sport they play is their job; it takes up as much time or more as the normal student's job at the cafeteria or student center, yet they do not get paid. The schools have to make up for this by finding some way to compensate these athletes. (132)

The main reason behind not giving college athletes some form of compensation is that college athletes must be amateurs and if they are paid they will lose their status as amateurs. Amateurs are defined as being non-professional, or not in the activity for gain. Many people say the fact that college athletes are amateurs and not paid gives college sports their appeal (Bruinis 1). Under the current rules, colleges cannot recruit athletes who have competed with professionals, accepted money from benefactors to be used for things such as private high school tuition, accepted prize money won in competitions, or played for money in any league. For example, Darnell Autry, University of Northwestern running back and theater major, went to Italy over the summer and appeared in a movie. He could not be paid for his services in the movie because it would damage his amateur status (Greenlee 63). (144)

The simple fact that the colleges are making millions off of these athletes means that they are exploiting them and the NCAA constitution proves this. This constitution states that, "student athletes shall be amateurs…and should be protected from exploitation by professional and commercial enterprises." The problem with this rule is that it fails to acknowledge that university athletic programs are commercial enterprises, especially recently. The objective of college athletic programs is to generate money (Murphy and Pace 168). If colleges are recognized in this way as commercial enterprises, it appears that colleges are violating the NCAA constitution. This means that college athletes are exploited even by universities' own definition. Former executive director of the NCAA Walter Byers states, "The coaches own the athletes' feet, the colleges own the athletes' bodies, and the supervisors retain the large rewards. That reflects a neoplantation mentality on the campuses that is not appropriate at this time of high dollars" (Wulf 94). In other words, Byers is saying the universities are using these athletes for a type of slave labor. (169)

Colleges try to discredit...
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