Paying College Athletes Essay, Research Paper
College Student-Athletes Can be Compensated for Their Services to Universities.
Every year nearly 330,000 college students don uniforms and become student-athletes for their respective schools (NCAA). These students participate in a wide variety of interests, from football to crew, cross country to golf. The sports surely vary in public interest and the amount of revenue that each attains each competitive season. Sports seem to have played a role in shaping post-secondary education from the time of the earliest universities. They provide a means for the students of that university to connect in support of their teams. College athletics add excitement to life that is surely not replicated in the classroom. Sports competitions give everyone connected to that university a sense of pride and unity that can only come from these activities. Yet this sense of school spirit comes at a cost to those directly involved. The student-athlete that has to practice up to 20 hours per week–the National Collegiate Athletics Association s (NCAA) maximum allotted hours along with the approximately eighteen hours of class time and numerous hours of studying, this results in a week that is easily over forty hours of work. Clearly, he is surely not receiving a reward equivalent to what he provides. Student-athletes should be compensated for the crucial services the ones that give the university a good image– that they provide, entertainment. With the current costs of college, the student-athlete is facing a battle every day in finding a way to pay for college while his time is taken up with his job of providing the university with a good athletic image. Something must be done to help compensate the student-athletes of American colleges and universities, that is to provide a stipend to the entertainers who are working extremely hard every day to make their university look good.
Many people say that the athletes receive scholarship as compensation. Scholarships are not enough compensation for all that athletes do for a university. Academic scholarships are awarded for the same amount of money to students with no catches. All that students on academic scholarships have to do is keep a certain number of credit hours and a certain GPA. Even if an athlete is on a full-ride scholarship (tuition, room, board, and books) this stipend does not include money to go home on weekends or holidays, going on a date, or just generally having a good time with friends. These activities are a big part of the college experience but the NCAA prohibits them indirectly. Freshmen on a full-ride are not usually allowed to hold a job. Other athletes are allowed to work only at certain times and certain hours and a certain amount, which is still under discussion by the NCAA–the specifics of which depend on the situation, not to mention that the athlete does not have the time to hold a job. It is not right that the NCAA can control the athletes lives outside of the sport. They not only control it, but athletes get suspended from their sport for breaking rules such as when they can have a job. The NCAA claims that these rules exist to maintain integrity in the sports. (Lasley)
Opponents of the pay-for-play idea say that student-athletes should not be paid because through scholarship, they are already being paid. They also say that one can’t put a price tag on a university education that a university education is priceless.
It is not debated that a scholarship is in a sense a form of payment. Few in the NCAA would dispute that. Athletes are being paid to play athletics for their school. And their pay is a scholarship. But it’s not enough. When university athletic departments are benefiting from these players, to the tune of millions of dollars annually, and student-athletes are receiving only an education that they may or may not want it just isn’t enough. A scholarship is nice, but it doesn’t pay the bills for many of those players.
Life wouldn’t be quite as hard for many of these student-athletes a lot who are recruited from lower-middle class and lower-class families–if they were allowed to hold part-time jobs, but the NCAA does not usually allow scholarship players to be employed during the school year. However, the NCAA acknowledged for the first time the growing gap between athletic scholarship packages and the true cost of attending college by adopting a proposal back in January 1997 known as “Prop 62″ that would give student-athletes the opportunity that non-athlete students have always enjoyed namely, the freedom to hold a job if they want to. The proposal was scheduled to go into effect August 1, 1997. (Stewart)
Alas, the NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors voted to delay implementation of Prop 62 a delay that’s sure to have an impact on those student-athletes who might have used job earnings, say, to finance a trip home for the holidays. Supposedly Prop 62 was delayed to study and make sure that the student-athlete could be employed without infringing upon their lives too much (Pay for Play). More guidelines, more rules, and more study the NCAA’s apparent answer to everything.
Why is the NCAA dragging out this issue? The NCAA says that the job issue has ramifications on recruiting, that some universities would have an unfair recruiting advantage over other schools. It works like this: School A may be able to promise a student a better job than School B. Or, without being naive, the coaches may even arrange for the kid to get a job that the kid never actually performs, though for which he still gets paid. Also there is a dispute about the issue of higher-paying jobs in other school locations: Some would say that a wage discrepancy could further unbalance Division I, giving a recruiting advantage to teams where a better job market or more opportunities exist. This is truly a thin argument indeed, since a case can be made for clean air and safe driving in Pullman compared to smog and life-threatening, pedal-to-the-metal drives on the Seattle freeway. Every community has its own pluses and minuses.
Some would argue that there might be situations where the athlete is paid while not working or the pay might be higher than the going rate for a non-athlete doing the same work. Yet, if a business pays for work that is not completed just to help the athlete financially, it will do more harm to itself than to college athletics and that athlete. However it can also be said that the athlete may benefit a lot more from some on-the-job experience than from extra practicing for their given sport. This isn’t rocket science–Scholarship recipients, from all disciplines, should be able to work if they desire. Although the NCAA s main argument is an amateur status, individual freedom should not be infringed upon in the name of that status.
Athletes shouldn’t have to worry about fighting for jobs in the first place. The players should be getting a cut from jersey sales, gate receipts, and sneaker endorsements in the form of a monthly stipend. Still, a job is the least players should have the opportunity to pursue. Again, some say that pay-for-play schemes are wrong because the chance to attend college is priceless. For the sake of argument, assume that it’s not priceless; every year at Washington State University that price is about $10,000 per year for residents and over $20,000 for out-of-state students is that priceless? Therefore education does have a price, and the price is the cost of full tuition, room and board at the university. Pay the players not only a salary that allows them to pay their own way to attend the university, but a salary that also gives them a small amount of money to spare. By allowing players to pay their own way, the idea that a university education is priceless has been eliminated. A university education is not priceless. Of course, priceless in the traditional sense the intangibles, the confidence the student gets from graduating, the higher earning potential that a degree affords, the enjoyment that one gets from taking a plethora of midterms has its place as well.
The players should be receiving some monetary benefit from their respective universities. They are the ones who have to win the ones who receive nothing extra for providing a positive image for the college. The ones who fill the stadiums with fans and bring money into the school. The ones who are being forced to be content with the fact that while the university reaps benefit at the expense of the athlete, but the NCAA still needs more time check and see if the athlete can be employed. Is it not unreasonable to help the athlete monetarily? Definitely not. Seeing the kinds of things that athletes do for American institutes of higher learning is it truly not out of the question to assist them more financially. College is not priceless and something needs to be done to ensure that student-athletes are able to pay for college.
Behind the Scenes. http://www.dailybruin.ucla.edu/db/issues/99/09.27/sports.dalis.html, 27 September, 1999.
Lasley, Carrie. The Athlete needs a little More. http://www.themaneater.com/1999/02/05/forum/lasley.html
NCAA On-Line. http://www.ncaa.org
Pay for Play: Should College Athletes be Paid For Playing Sports? http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/ daniel/hyperwriting/webarguments/fuerst/
PE 410 Sports and Society: Paying College Athletes. http://www.cord.edu/dept/sports/41003pa.html
Stewart, Don. Will Compete for Cash? http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/1998/02/02-25-98tdc/02-25-98d01-015.asp