Student Athletes Deserve More than Scholarships
A Look into the Finances of Major College Sports Programs Student-athletes at major Division I-A colleges and universities do more than attend classes, practices, and compete against other teams. They generate revenue. Intercollegiate sports have developed into a highly specialized, multi-million dollar entertainment industry that rides on the shoulders of student-athletes. This industry has in turn resulted in substantial rewards for big time athletic programs and the NCAA. According to an NCAA survey conducted in 1998, sixty-seven percent of Division I-A football programs showed an average profit of $3.9 million with many of the largest programs far exceeding that figure (Netzley). Add in revenue from other sports and the NCAA took in $267 million in 1997-1998 (NCAA). Universities do not hide the importance they place on successful sports programs. In 1997, Steve Spurrier, head football coach at the University of Florida, signed a six-year contract that averaged $2 million per year. In addition to his $2 million annual salary, Spurrier was given two new cars, a generous clothing allowance and 24 prime tickets for each Gators home game. The deal also included incentives that would take effect when specific goals set forth in the contract are achieved (Martinez). He can earn $99,000 for winning another national championship. He can earn the equivalent of one month of his base salary for getting to the SEC championship game, two months equivalent for any bowl game, two-and-a-half months for an Alliance bowl game, and lastly, $50,000 for winning a third national championship (Martinez). Jeremy Foley, University of Florida Athletic Director, said after the signing, "Obviously, people are going to talk about the amount of money he's making, but he adds tremendous value to this university" (Martinez). While universities are eager to compensate coaches for the exploits of their players they are steadfast in their...
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