Why Should Scholarship Athletes Be Paid?
Recently in the news, there was a report on the five University of Kentucky basketball players that decided to enter the NBA draft after only their freshmen season. Sure, they were told of the millions of dollars they could make in professional sports, but were they given the odds of them even reaching that big payday? From picks 5-10 in the draft, the success rate of the player becoming a league average starter is about 30%, then for the rest of the first round, picks 11-30 have around a 10% chance (Thread:15 year Basketball Analysis). But even after given the odds, most of the players will choose to enter the draft because if they continue to play and attend college, they could hurt themselves and lose out on all the money. But what happens when the athlete doesn’t make it? Then he becomes just another person in his early 20s without a college degree, looking for a job. But what if colleges were to offer the players an added incentive to stay, promise a type of salary so the athlete could make some extra money to help with his tuition cost, maintain a social life, and stay in school to finish his degree? Because even on a full scholarship, it does not cover the entire cost, the IRS taxes the scholarship leaving the player about $3,200-$3,500 short a year. This is why paying college athletes makes sense, because it will help keep young adults in school to finish their degrees and help them financially to achieve a better future. College athletes deserve to be paid because sports take up about 40 hours a week, which could translate to a full time job. So why should the players not get paid for doing his job? That is the question that is keeping most student-athletes from completing their education and chancing not only professional sports, but their futures as well.
Michael Wilbon, a featured columnist for ESPN.com, wrote in one of his articles that at first he sided with the NCAA, saying that scholarships should be enough payment for a student athlete to survive on. But recently he took a complete 180 degree flip and sided with the players. He said the reason he changed sides is because, “That $11 billion deal -- OK, its $10.8 billion to be exact -- between the NCAA and CBS/Turner Sports for March Madness between 2011 and 2024. We're talking $11 billion for three weekends of television per year. On top of that, there's a new four-year deal with ESPN that pays the BCS $500 million. So, if those two deals were worth, say, a combined $10 billion instead of $11.3 billion, would the games not be televised? Would the quality of the broadcasts or the coverage or the staging of the events be somehow diminished? What if people in the business of money took $1.3 billion off the top, invested it, sheltered it and made it available to provide a stipend to college athletes, how could anybody stand on principal and argue against paying the people who make the events possible in the first place?”(Wilbon). The argument Wilbon is trying to make is that he is not looking for the athletes to command these huge, massive paychecks, but rather just a tiny share of the money that they are providing to the school. After all, if it was not for them, the schools would not have that money in the first place. The NCAA has different programs to provide financial assistance to students who need extra money to buy food, clothing, and pay rent. The NCAA puts hundreds of millions of dollars into these programs, why can’t some of that money be directed into programs for student athletes, and in turn make money much more accessible to athletes for the kinds of regular day-to-day expenses regular college students pay by working jobs that are off-limits to intercollegiate athletes? Michael Wilbon addresses the other side of the issue when he states, “The question from the opponents of paying college athletes inevitably comes back, "What would stop a star player from agreeing to shake hands at a local car...
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