Currently, sports are clearly used for a business opportunity, not for the love of the game. Did you know that in 2011 the NCAA signed a 14-year contract with CBS and Time Warner Cable worth 10. 8 billion dollars for just three weekends of men’s college basketball? The NCAA claims to be a non-profit association but they make an average of 11 billion dollars in annual revenue. Many people don’t realize the NCAA treats student-athletes like employees.
College basketball and football players are often forced to miss classes to be on nationally televised productions and don’t receive any pay or compensation for missing classes multiple times a week to bring in revenue for the NCAA. For this reason and many others, student athletes deserve pay. Why should people care about college athletes not receiving enough from their universities? The public should care about college athletes because they’re being treated poorly by their Universities. Universities are exploiting the talent of their athletes without a fair amount of reward.
People should care about college athletes because up until last year it was against NCAA’s rules for a University to pay for an athlete’s food. After winning the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, University of Connecticut point guard Shabazz Napier sent a tweet saying how he was starving because neither he nor his family could afford any more food than they had already spent for the month. We should also care because the NCAA is greedy. The NCAA sells jerseys with players numbers and names on them. The athletes never see a penny of the income generated from jersey sales.
College athletes do benefit enormously from scholarships but scholarships aren’t enough to cover the additional costs of living in college. The average scholarship is worth $25,000 a year and over four years that totals just $100,000. While $25,000 may sound like a large amount of money for a college student, but there are many things that money has to cover in order for the athlete to attend college. The average tuition and fees for an in-state four year university is $22,261 per year; which does not include multiple textbooks that cost hundreds of dollars each.
What happens to that scholarship if they’re released from a team? How is the athlete supposed to continue paying for college if they’re from a low income family? Tyson Hartnett, writer for the Huffington Post and former college student, says “For a little extra money to see a movie or go out to dinner once a week, my freshman roommate worked a job at the university, earning about $7/hour. He would work his butt off all day, with two or sometimes three basketball training sessions, plus classes and homework, and go to that job for a few hours late at night.
He would come back exhausted, but he needed whatever money they would pay him”(Hartnett). This example sheds light on a common challenge student athletes face. Many athletes who are barely squeaking by while working a minimum wage job. It is unreasonable to expect student athletes to consistently be required work harder than the average student and not receive pay for it. Is it too much to ask for compensation when star athletes are single handedly making millions for their university?
Marcus Mariota and Jonathan Stewart, both former University of Oregon football players, have each made their university a large amount of revenue during their college careers. Though the main purpose of college should be earning a degree and getting a higher education, many colleges use their athletes to showcase their athletic programs while allowing their athletes to get by with just taking easy classes. The fact is; college athletes are giving their ability to their university at virtually no cost.
Journalism students are allowed to have their work published and art students are allowed to sell their art pieces so why aren’t college athletes aren’t allowed to sell their athleticism? Student athletes provide a profitable talent and deserve some kind of stipend for those services. Joe Nocera of the New York Times said in his article from 2011 on the topic “At the time I spoke to Emmert, high-school athletes were signing binding letters of intent to attend a university — letters that said they would get the $2,000” (Nocera).
While talking to Mark Emmert, the president of the NCAA, high school players were signing letters of intent that promised them a $2,000 “sweetener” that Mark Emmert had agreed to allow colleges to provide. Nocera also said in the post “But over the next month, college athletic directors and conference commissioners began protesting the new stipend, claiming they couldn’t afford it. Within a month, more than 125 of them had signed an “override request. ” And so it was that just a few weeks ago, the N. C. A. A. decided to suspend the payment” (Nocera).
This reveals that the NCAA doesn’t care about their athletes as much as they do money. The athletes who were promised the $2,000 dollars were awarded it for legal reasons. Many athletes that were offered a scholarship after the $2,000 stipend was in place didn’t receive the stipend. If the athletes were offered a scholarship after the stipend was in place, accepting the payment would be committing a recruiting violation and athletes would face some kind of consequence, most likely in the form of suspension from play.
Some freshman walked away with $2,000 and the satisfaction of not being put in jeopardy for recruiting violations because their scholarship was offered before the allowance to pay them; confusing, right? The NCAA claims they can’t afford to pay players a measly $2,000 and yet they make a 11 figure profit every year. Marc Edelman, a writer for Forbes, said in his 2014 article, “This year, the University of Alabama reported $143. 3 million in athletic revenues – more than all 30 NHL teams and 25 of the 30 NBA teams” (Edelman).
This quote proves that universities and the NCAA makes more than enough revenue to pay their athletes. The Toronto Maple Leafs, a professional hockey team, make 142 million in annual revenue which is the most in the NHL but is less than University of Texas, Ohio State University, University of Michigan, and University of Alabama. I fail to see how public universities continue to claim they cannot afford to pay athletes with these profit margins. Marc Edelman also says in his article “Last year, the average salary for a BCS eligible football coach was $2. 5 million”(Edelman) and “The average salary for a premier NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball coach also exceeded $1 million”(Edelman).
These two excerpts show that universities pay their coaches top dollar for their leadership of a sports team but still claim they can’t afford to give athletes any type of compensation for their efforts. In 40 of 50 states, the honor of highest paid public officer belongs to the head coach of a state university’s men’s basketball team or football team. Nick Saban, head football coach at the University of Alabama, makes $7 million dollars per year.
Doesn’t that seem a little steep for a college coach? Yes, Nick Saban works hard and gets paid very handsomely for it, but he isn’t the one putting in countless hours of weightlifting and training for a spot on the team, then not receiving compensation. University of Alabama, known mostly for their football program, has won many BCS championships in recent years but it’s not all the coach, it’s also the players working endless hours to achieve success.
College athletes spend an average of 43. 3 hours a week working on their sport, 3. hours more than the average Unites States employee. Even with all these strenuous hours of work the athletes still aren’t compensated, therefor are treated more like employees than students. Many people argue that college athletes already receive enough compensation by receiving a scholarship. The average four year scholarship amount is $100,000. Many college athletes do enjoy free tuition throughout their college career, but they deserve more than that when they’re risking their health and are the main reason for creating high revenue for their college.
Kevin Ware, forward for the Louisville Cardinals basketball team, had a gruesome injury during March Madness which took many surgeries to repair. Yes, Louisville University paid for it, but don’t you think he deserves more? He suffered a terrible compound fracture, and like many other college players was forever changed by injury incurred during college play. Kevin Ware risked his personal health for his basketball team, they later went on to win the NCAA tournament.
There is no question that sports aren’t played for the love of the game anymore, the sports industry is without a doubt simply a business. Marc Edelman in his Forbes article said, “However, in the early days of college sports paying coaches was as frowned upon as paying student-athletes”(Edelman). This statement leads me to believe there is hope in the near future for a change in policy regarding payment for college athletes. Until the NCAA starts paying their student-athletes, they will continue to provide enormous revenue for colleges and yet not receive fair or equitable compensation.