The Controversy of Paying Amateur Athletes

The benefits of receiving an athletic college scholarship are great. Although the benefits or pros of the scholarship are incredible and helps the student receive an education, it doesn’t allow them to live properly. Famous college basketball player, Shabazz Napier said he “went to bed starving” because he simply “didn’t have any money to get food” (Edelman “The Case for Paying”). This is just one example of many athletes being malnourished because of their sport’s inflexible schedules. The balance of studies, sports, jobs, and personal lives is incredibly challenging for these young scholars. The National Collegiate Athletic Association should allow their athletes to be paid, to a certain extent, by their universities/colleges due to their busy lives as students.

Excessively engaged in work
These students have extremely busy lives. Alumni or former students can often relate to the “Freshman Fifteen” and the longing for the need to fit in. The desire of people wanting to be a part of something when they convene with dissimilar surroundings is great. Students often try to be inducted into clubs, sororities, or fraternities when they first reach their universities. The students are also under a lot of academic pressure. Keeping up with studies is very critical when receiving a scholarship. Students also go under the stress of missing their homes. Going away to college may be the first time these scholars are not familiar with their surroundings. All of these factors lead to the nervous tension that university athletes receive on a daily basis. On average, a typical Division I college football player dedicates 43.3 hours per week to his sport.This is 3.3 more hours than the typical American work week (21 Reasons Why). The average college football player is working overtime on a job he is not even getting paid for. The strain of juggling work and social life can overall stress the athletes to the highest degree.

Substantial Revenue
These college competitors also bring in a substantial amount of revenue for their universities. The college sports industry generates $11 billion in annual revenues. Fifty colleges report annual revenues that exceed $50 million. Meanwhile, five colleges report annual revenues that exceed $100 million (Koba). These revenues come from numerous sources, including ticket sales, sponsorship rights, and the sale of broadcast rights. The National Collegiate Athletic Association recently sold broadcast rights to its annual men’s basketball tournament for upwards of $770 million per season. And the Big Ten Conference has launched its own television network that sells air time to sponsors during the broadcast of its football and men’s basketball games. These college sports revenues are passed along to NCAA executives, athletic directors and coaches in the form of salaries (Schwartz). The students get nothing. In 2011, NCAA members paid their association president, Mark Emmert, $1.7 million. Head football coaches at the 44 NCAA Bowl Championship Series schools received on average $2.1 million in salaries. The highest paid public employee in 40 of the 50 U.S. states is the state university’s head football or basketball coach. At the University Of Alabama the head football coach, Nick Saban, recently signed a contract paying him $7 million per year – more than 160 times the average wage of a Tuscaloosa public school teacher. Former college quarterback, Johnny Manziel brought in about 24 million dollars in profits for his school’s athletic department. Texas A made enormous amounts of funds off of Johnny’s appearance and merchandise. The school made millions of just one of the players on the team. Manziel did not get one cut out of the money that was made.The NCAA defends its no-pay rules on several dubious grounds. In addition, the NCAA claims that compensating student-athletes would create a Title IX problem. They believe that because the average Division I men’s basketball coach earns nearly twice as much in salary as the average Division I women’s basketball coach. NCAA members have not suggested terminating the pay of college basketball coaches to resolve this concern. The argument in favor of allowing colleges to pay their student-athletes comes down to economic efficiency, distributive justice and a reasonable interpretation of antitrust laws. By contrast, the argument against allowing pay to student-athletes arises mainly from greed and self-interest (Schwartz).

Harming Education
College athletes are also given a “free” education that they cannot even benefit from. In our society, college sports have become a “massively commercialized industry” which has become “harmful to education” (Zimbalist). Big-time college sports embody the ideals of amateurism and provide an important complement to university education. Or so its apologists would have us believe. As Andrew Zimbalist illustrated that college sports are really a massively commercialized industry based on activities that are often irrelevant and even harmful to education. Zimbalist combined groundbreaking empirical research and a talent for storytelling to provide a firm, factual basis for the many arguments that currently rage about the goals, history, structure, incentive system, and legal architecture of college sports. He painted a picture of an organization in frantic need of reform Zimbalist also demonstrated in his analysis that “today’s problems are nothing new that schools have been consumed for more than a century by debates about cheating, commercialism, and the erosion of educational principles” (Zimbalist). Although the NCAA claims college athletes are just students, the NCAA’s own tournament schedules require college athletes to miss classes for nationally televised games that bring in revenue. Currently, the NCAA Division I football championship is played on a Monday night.This year, the national football championship game required Florida State football players to miss the first day of spring classes. Meanwhile, the annual NCAA men’s basketball tournament affects more than six days of classes. At some schools, the road to the NCAA men’s basketball championship may require student-athletes to miss up to a quarter of all class days during their spring semester (21 Reasons Why). These students often miss precious “free” classes that they could not attend to because of the NCAA. Athletes cannot learn from classes that they miss. These schedules are affecting these students academically and are not letting them benefit from this form of payment from their universities.

On the Contrast
Some would say that athletic scholarships provide kids with the opportunity to become successful, go to the college of their dreams, and develop as young adult in a real institutionary campus. Although full-ride scholarships provide students with some benefits, it does not cover the cons. The scholarship does not pay for food, water, or nutrients for the athlete. The NCAA also believes that it will lead to a Title IX problem, which is when one gender receives more benefits/ pay than the other. The assumption that men college athletes would be paid more than women’s is simply absurd. Male athletes do not currently receive “better scholarships” because they are male. These hypothetical’s made up by the NCAA are preventing the students from receiving a proper education and living.

A Proper Solution/Conclusion
The National Collegiate Athletic Association should get eliminate full-ride scholarships and pay the athletes annually, to a certain extent. They should not be paid like professionals but be paid to a suitable degree. The NCAA has set rules and regulations which restrict colleges from compensating their athletes. More harm comes to the student than positives. These students have very important lives, don’t get reimbursed, and it affects their education. An all expenses paid scholarship only provides them with education. Scholarships like these do not benefit athletes. These amateurs should be able to have reimbursements instead of an all expenses paid scholarship.

Works Cited
Edelman, Marc. “21 Reasons Why Student-Athletes Are Employees.” Forbes. Forbes c
Magazine, 30 Jan. 2014. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.
Edelman, Marc. “The Case for Paying College Athletes.” US News. U.S.News & World Report,
6 Jan. 2014. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.
Koba, Mark. “Student-Athletes to Get Paid? It Looks That Way – NBC News.” NBC News. N.p.,
12 Aug. 2014. Web. 22 Oct. 2014. Video.
Schwartz, Nelson D., and Steve Eder. “College Athletes Aim to Put Price on ‘Priceless’.” New
York Times 28 Mar. 2014: A1(L). Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 23 Oct. 2014. Print.
Zimbalist, Andrew. “Unpaid Professionals: Commercialism and Conflict in Big-Time
College Sports.” By Andrew Zimbalist, 1999. Princeton University Press, 1999. Web. 23Oct.2014. Print

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