Amongst the controversy surrounding the NCAA’s recent crackdown on violations with regards to college programs compensating players and players accepting compensation from universities and outside sources, one question has understandably been brought up. It is a question that was bound to be asked sooner or later, and one without an obvious answer: should college athletes be paid? It is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, question that surrounds the world of college sports. The answer, quite simply put, is no.
Allowing universities to pay students athletes to participate in sports would require a complete overhaul of the NCAA rule book. At this stage, too many questions need to be answered: how much would athletes get paid? Where would the money come from? Would athletes in certain sports get paid more than others? This is just the tip of the iceberg. The amount of time that it would take to (re)write this part of the rulebook would be ridiculous. Not only do NCAA officials have to write the new rules, but there would also have to be many revisions made before a final copy is finished. Then the new regulations would need to be approved by the majority of the NCAA universities. And there is no guarantee that would happen with the first edition of the rules, so the process would continue to repeat itself until an agreement is reached. On top of that, the Title IX Act would need to be amended in order to accommodate the new rules in order to ensure equality across all genders. All the time it would take to create a set of rules and regulations and amend the necessary laws to make paying college athletes possible would use up many NCAA resources and cost a lot of money. It is one thing to spend time to make money or spend money to save time, but creating new rules and/or amending old ones would be spending time and money just to give even more money away from the university (to pay the athletes). The fact that the NCAA and its affiliates would have to allocate such a large amount of money to creating the new rule book raises another important question: where will the money come from? Initially, it would not come from the NCAA: they would most certainly be in some amount of debt after spending copious amounts of time and money on the rulebook. So why not use the revenue brought in by the athletes? First of all, that is the money the NCAA would have spent on the creation of the new rules and regulations. Secondly, even without incorporating the costs creating a new rulebook would require, that money is reserved for the colleges and universities, the NCAA and NCAA subsidiary conferences (Big Ten Conference, South Eastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, etc.) in order to pay for coaches, training staff, officials for competition, construction and uptake of facilities, advertising, and a per diem for athletes and staff on road trips, among many other countless expenses. Not only do the numbers not work financially, there are also questions on the morality of using revenue to pay players. The main argument behind changing the rules to allow compensation for players is that they bring immense amounts of revenue into colleges and universities but receive nothing in return. While this is a valid argument, it usually only applies to the big money making sports such as football and basketball. The NCAA’s mantra is fairness and equality across all sports and genders, which makes compensation for revenue generation a touchy subject. In terms of morality, you could not rightfully pay the athletes in the “big two” sports but not in others. Conversely, you could not fairly pay athletes in the other sports for the revenue that they had very little part in creating. For example, think about running a lemonade stand and having to share the profits with your siblings who had no part in it. Or consider seeing your brother get paid for mowing the lawn while you get nothing for shoveling; neither of these would be fair to student...
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