10,800,000,000. Ten point eight billion dollars. I had to write it both ways because I had trouble reading that number out loud, and you probably will too.
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Think about the amount of zeros in that number. With that amount of money you can buy buy 74 Bugatti hyper-cars, stay 5,731 nights in the United States America’s most expensive hotel room, or if you like to party lavishly you can buy 390 bottles of million-dollar whisky. That number is what The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) makes per year. College athletics is a billion dollar industry and has been for a long time. Due to the increasing ratings of college athletics, this figure will continue to rise. There is a huge controversy on whether College athletes should receive a salary considering how much money these players make for their schools and the NCAA as a whole. The NCAA has 24 sports for student athletes to compete in, and a total number of over 460,000 student athletes participating in sports per year. Twenty four sports yet there’s only two sports that are considered for student salary, College Basketball and College Football. Those two sports generate 9.15 billion dollars out of the NCAA’s 10.8 Billion dollars. Thats 84% of the NCAA’s annual salary. Now what about the other 1.65 billion dollars the other 22 sports generate? The only two sports that people have these debates over is football and basketball, but theres more sports! If one student athlete is to receive a salary for playing their sport, then all 460,000 student athletes should receive a salary to be fair. This simply is impossible. How can you determine who gets paid what? Should the schools be offering the salary? Should Division 2 and Division 3 athletes get paid? Should a starting quarterback make more money than a bench warming kicker? College Athlete’s should not receive pay from their schools, or the NCAA, because there’s too many different variables, and no fair way to distinguish a set salary amongst all college athletes.
In a way, college athletes are already getting paid to play their sports. Its called a scholarship. Scholarships come with many benefits. “About two percent of high school athletes are awarded athletic scholarships to compete in college” (Bertolas 1). It is a privilege to get the opportunity to play at the collegiate level, let alone be awarded an athletic scholarship. This opportunity should not be taken for granted. To play at the collegiate level is something all athletes dream of and for most, it is the highest level of competition. Student-athletes being paid would only create more of a problem for other athletes, students, and universities. So what are these Student-athletes actually getting from their scholarships? They receive more than just free classes. The scholarship includes tuition, books, food, housing, and branded clothing (athletic wear). Scholarships on average are over $100,000 worth of money a year (Bertolas 1). On top of a scholarship, student athletes are given other benefits such as free tutors, scheduling benefits, trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, free facilities, more clothes, and equipment. At some universities all the extra benefits that athletes receive can total $200,000 over all four years (Bertolas 1). If the athletic scholarship and all the benefits were to be added together, student athletes are making over $150,000 a year. When athletes sign their National Letter of Intent, they are signing a contract that says that they are going to play for a university or a school in exchange for a scholarship. Before signing, student-athletes are aware that they cannot receive extra benefits from other organizations. Athletes are committing to represent the university, not their individual name. While representing the university, they also will represent the companies that sponsor the universities and the team. Universities can be sponsored by types of brand names like: Adidas, Nike, and Under Armour. Although the companies are sponsoring the university, they are also sponsoring the individual athlete as well.
One of the major issues that comes with paying college athletes is determining how you distribute the money. If football and basketball are every schools main source of revenue, should they only get paid? What about the athletes who participate in the other 22 sports schools offer. Should they receive money too? Should they receive as much as a football or basketball player? Should every single athlete on a winning team receive the same amount of money? What if you’re a starting point guard and you average 20 points vs a backup point guard who only averages 2 points a game. Should the pay be the same? What if you have 2 star players, or maybe even 3. How can you decide who gets paid more? Maybe they should be paid equally, but if they all receive equal pay what about the other contributing players on the team? I think you get the idea. There’s way too many variables that make it basically impossible to decide how student-athletes should get paid. The most important question is who will pay these athletes? The Universities, or the NCAA. The max a college can “pay” an athlete (through scholarships) is the max cost of attending/living at the school. (Grimett 3). There’s already a cap on how much money Colleges can give their players, so would top tier student athletes even get paid as much as they should be? No. Some people believe that if the NCAA brings in millions of dollars, the least they can do is give back large amounts to the players who are making them their money. It is true that the NCAA racks in a lot of money but they actually redistribute a large amount of the money they make. The NCAA spend money on Sport Sponsorship and Scholarship Funds, Division I Basketball Performance Fund, Division I Championships, Student-Athlete Services, and educational programs. (Grenardo 2). There’s no way both the NCAA and the universities can actually afford to pay athletes.
Do athletes only care about the money and making it as a pro? Or do they think about what a privilege it is to play for a college team, and receive a FREE EDUCATION. Most college athletes have dreams and aspirations of going pro in their sports, and thats okay. The numbers of NCAA college athletes going pro are extremely low. Out of 5 major pro sports (Football, Women’s and Men’s Basketball, Baseball, Ice Hockey) fewer than 2 percent of college athletes go pro. (Grenardo 2). If we were to pay student athletes while they’re in college, we would just be giving them a bunch of money to have for their lives. They would have no incentive to go and find jobs because they already were getting paid money without even being a professional. It would put student athletes at a huge advantage, when the average college student graduates with large amounts of student debt. Normal college students have to spend so much money on tuition and other fees for them to attend college. Imagine being a student and a portion of the money you give to your school goes back to college athletes. How unfair is that? That’s something that actually happens. Studies show that in larger universities such $800 of a students tuition cost goes back to funding for student-athletes. (Bertolas 1). If you were a star athlete in high school and you worked hard, you deserve that full scholarship, and nothing more.
If athletes get paid how will it affect themselves and the game of sports in general. Some people say that they see their scholarships as being paid because they basically pay for a good part of their expenses that they don’t need to spend their own money. As a direct result to athletes being paid it will cause more students to pay more attention to the money than staying in school and concentrating on grades and actually playing in the games. Also NCAA president says “if college athletes start being paid many schools would end up leaving division 1 sports. Is it a schools choice to not pay their athletes or do they just not have the money to afford to spend a few grand a year on each top performing athletes. The NCAA requests that 25 sports teams across the United States and have argued that athletes shouldn’t be paid and that they are students and not employees. Some authors argue that payment caps set by the NCAA that are holding back athletes being paid. Another factor that has been affecting the NCAA is that $1 billion from tuitions were given to the NCAA department of athletics that couldn’t been spent on paying athletes. Lastly a case between Ed O’bannon and the NCAA says that athletes could theoretically be paid five thousand a year but they have denied too and O’bannon lost the case which allowed the NCAA to keep their money and not pay athletes.
College athletes should not be paid because it ruins the way that college players pick which colleges to go to. According to Ekow N. Yankah in “Why N.C.A.A. Athletes Shouldn’t Be Paid,” “Paying student athletes erodes that association. A high-school football prodigy reported that he chose Michigan not for its academic quality, tradition, or beautiful campus but because it outbid all other suitors, a connection to the university’s values would be lost.” If we start to pay athletes, being good or having a good school won’t matter. Most athletes pick a certain college to make them get noticed by a NFL team. When being paid, athletes would chose the college who has the most money to offer them. Colleges sell merchandise at different events. For example at football games they sell jerseys with different numbers on them. When college football players say they don’t get paid for them selling their jerseys, they are wrong because they don’t put their name on the back of the jersey like they do in the NFL. They now have no argument about the school using their name when they don’t. Some athletes say they play for the school and should get paid. This argument is invalid because you chose to go to that college and play a sport for the school. You will make money if you are good enough to go pro. According to Kieran McCauley in ” College athletes shouldn’t be paid,” “College athletes don’t need to worry about student loans because of their school being paid for.” It wouldn’t be fair for other students if only the athletes got paid.
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