Paying College Athletes Essay, Research Paper
It is six o?clock in the afternoon in a big college town. A young college basketball player is walking down the sidewalk with his teammates and enters the local McDonalds for a burger. The young basketball player reaches into his pocket and pulls out a hand full of lint. He then proceeds to ask a buddy to borrow five bucks so he could get something to eat. As the group leaves the establishment they say goodbye to one another and disperse. The young man gets to the corner and waits for the light to allow him to cross the road. As he waits for the light he browses the college store window that engulfs the corner. In the middle of the window there are flashing lights and a sign that reads ?Just In! The Authentic Chris Weber Jersey. Just $89.99 plus tax.? The young man shakes his head and turns to cross the street. As he walks across the street the small crowd that was waiting on the other side begins to pass him. A little boy amongst the crowd looks at the young man and smiles. The boy then turns to his dad and says ?Dad that was Chris Weber!? Here is a college athlete that brings in millions of dollars for the university but doesn?t have enough money to buy a value meal. ?But while the debate between supporters and opponents increases across the country, the college athletics’ governing body has not acted on the matter.? (Keith)
Beginning in 2003 and ending in 2013 the NCAA will be getting 6.2 billon dollars from CBS just to broadcast the Final Four Tournament (Barry). This money would only be made if there were players to play the game. Not giving any of the money to the players is nothing short of a crime. The NCAA doesn’t think so. According to Cedric Dempsey, president of the NCAA, it is vital that college basketball retain its amateur status (Barry). First let us look at the meaning of amateur status. What did it mean to the Olympics? Apparently not much because for centuries it was the rule that only amateurs would only be allowed to participate in the Olympics. Look at it now. Almost the entire United States Olympic basketball team is made up of professional millionaires. To my knowledge the team does invite two college kids to come and play. Even track athletes receive millions for competing. It won’t be long before the Olympic baseball team follows suit. As far as the television contract goes we?re talking just about the college basketball tournament. Imagine what a TV network would give if the NCAA had a Division 1A three-week football playoff? With billions of television dollars coming into the NCAA for just men?s basketball, how can the public keep buying the argument that schools have a hard time funding minor sports like rowing, swimming or tennis? With this type of money the NCAA could even pay supporting originations like the band or even the cheerleaders.
Granted many of the student-athletes receive scholarships. Of course that could get pretty expensive. Anyone putting a child through college understands the expenses involved not only for tuition, but also for housing, books and food. But the student-athletes live an entirely different life than other scholarship students on campus. You have to take in consideration of their sports schedule. How many hours throughout the week are spent for practices? Also don?t forget the time spent for traveling to away games. The student athlete also has an enormous amount of responsibility to the public. On top of all that put the pressure on them to perform for the college and for them to make it to the pros. Yes the NCAA says that athletes now can get a part time job. When is it possible to work? Don Stewart backs up this statement by saying ?Many student-athletes argue that being permitted to have a job during the school year is a moot point. Constantly busy with both academic and athletic responsibilities, most athletes don’t have time.? (Stewart)
Athletes now a days are leaving college earlier and earlier to enter the pros. Some athletes even go strait from high school. There is no secret why this is going on. It is to make money to supports themselves and most of the time their entire family. There are a number of opinions on staying in or leaving early. Matt Myftiu has a couple quotes from head coaches from the big ten. John Cooper from Ohio State University said “The kids should be able to do what they want to do, but if I were giving advice I’d say that college is the best time of your life and it’s better to stay,” Then on the other hand Coach Joe Paterno says “I think the only important thing is whether it’s good for the kid,” (Myftiu) But, you also have to consider the average career for a professional athlete and the answer to the question – what next. By paying college athletes a fair amount of money each month, more might put their pro careers on hold and finish their college education so they can something to fall back on when the pro ride is over. Today it is estimated that 58 percent of college students graduate and the chance of an average football player or the average basketball graduating is between forty-five and fifty two percent (Polo). The numbers for superstar athletes are most likely worse. It seems that athletes think that college is just a stepping-stone into the pros. Mr. Polomarkakis makes another good point in his column quoting ?The college sports? market has changed drastically in the last few decades. Collegiate sports have become a big business.? Listing some of the changes such as $38 million dollars was paid to Notre Dame by NBC for the exclusive rights to broadcast its football games for five seasons. A major TV network will pay $117 million dollars a year to broadcast a major bowl game (Polo). As you can see this is big money. In the introduction of Steve Wulf?s article he writes.
They are required to put in long hours of hard work for next to nothing, often in
hostile conditions, always under the intense scrutiny of their bosses. They are
imported from faraway places, then isolated from the rest of the population and
ultimately exploited for their sweat. Migrant farm workers? Child seamstresses
for Kathie Lee? No, we’re talking here about major college-football players.
This is a very strong statement, comparing the life of the student athlete to a migrant worker. If you think about it he is not far from the truth. Mr. Wulf also alludes to the same thing that I did but he did it with Payton Manning by saying ?How is it that Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning gets nothing when a Peyton Manning jersey is sold for $70 in Knoxville?? Article after article that I read about this subject contain the same examples and insight.
One column I did run across by Debbie K. Schlussel say to pay a college athlete is nuts. She says, ?In today’s collegiate environs, we don’t pay medical students who might discover the next cure for cancer. Nor do we pay those physics, chemistry, and engineering geniuses who will help transform our lives with new conveniences, inventions and life-saving devices?? Even though I fully appreciate the work that the college medical student does, I disagree with her statement. I would think that a student who comes up with any kind of cure is rewarded handsomely. For example if while in college this student finds the cure for cancer and wins the Pulitzer price, do you think that every news station and magazine will pay him for his interview, of coarse and he will have no problem taking the money. On the other hand does the athlete that scores four touchdowns in the championship game get money when he give an interview, no because the NCAA says he can?t accept it.
One proposal for the pay comes from Spiro Polomarkakis, ?Maybe colleges should allow their athletes to be endorsed by shoe companies and clothing companies. That way instead of the school getting the money the players are earning, the players can have their piece of the pie, too.? Another proposal from Mark Martinez, ?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.? The only thing that is being asked is to give the college athlete a decent salary. Pay them for their hours spent toward the athletic program. Say for instance a football player spends four hours a day at practice during the week and eight hours on Saturday for the game. That is a total of twenty-eight hours at say, five dollars an hour. That player would get $120 dollars for the week. That is more than fair. Eddy Landreth sums it up by saying, ?If the guys take the money from an AAU coach, they are seen as rulebreakers. If they negotiate an NBA contract, they are seen as well-paid employees??
Barry, John “Should They Play For Pay in the NCAA?” Speak Out April 18, 2000
Keith, Ryan “Controversy Over Paying Athletes Rages On.” Daily Egyptian Nov.
Landreth, Eddy. “Face It College Athletes are Entitled to Something” Fox Sports May 1,
Martinez, Mark. “Show Them The Money! Do What’s Right ? Give College
Players Their Due.” Student
Myftiu, Matt. “Money, Chance at Dream Draw Athletes Away from Degree” ESPN
Polomarkakis, Spiro “Pay College Athletes for Creating Big Business” Kaimin
March 29, 2000
Schlussel Debbie K. “Idea of Paying College Athletes is Nuts” Dec. 19, 1997
Stewart, Don. “Will Compete for Cash?” Collegian Feb. 25, 1998
Wulf, Steve ?Tote That Ball, Lift That Revenue? Time. Oct. 21, 1996 VOL. 148 NO. 1