Pay for Play
Today, sports are no longer fun and games, sports are a business, and college sports are no different. Division I college sports provide a huge source of universities’ income. The school receives money from ticket sales, television contracts, and sport-related merchandise, along with many other sports related revenue builders. The athletes on the other hand, receive their scholarship and little more. While the idea of receiving a free college education is something few would complain about; when the issue is more closely examined it becomes evident that it is not enough. Universities are exploiting athletes, and recently the problems that this creates have become more prominent. More and more athletes are now leaving school early to enter the professional leagues in order to make money. There have also been more reports of violations surrounding university boosters and alumni paying players. Furthermore, athletes have been accused of making deals with gamblers and altering the outcome of games. All of these problems could be minimized, if not completely eliminated, by adopting a program for compensating student athletes. College athletes are exploited by their schools, which make millions of dollars off of them. This leads to violations, students leaving college early, and student-athletes that cannot even afford to do anything that their sport doesn’t sponsor. The NCAA and professional leagues can work together to institute a plan to compensate these athletes and remedy all these problems. Student athletes need money just like any other college students, and many of them need it even more. According to Steve Wulf, many college athletes come from disadvantaged backgrounds (94). This means that while the free tuition is nice, they are still going to need money for other expenses that every college student faces. The NCAA finally realized this recently and decided to allow athletes to have a job earning up to $2000 during the school year (Greenlee 63). This, while well intended, is impossible for many, if not the majority of college athletes. As Greenlee states, "The hours athletes would spend working at a job are already spoken for" (63). The sport they play is their job; it takes up as much time, if not more, as the normal student’s job at the cafeteria or student center, yet they do not get paid. The schools have to make up for this by finding some way to compensate these athletes. The main reason behind not giving college athletes some form of compensation is that college athletes must be amateurs and if they are paid they will lose their status as an amateur. Amateurs are defined in the dictionary as an athlete who has never accepted money, or who accepts money under restrictions specified by a regulatory body, for participating in a competition. Many people say the fact that college athletes are amateurs and not paid gives college sports their appeal (Bruinis 1). However, these rules have been extended so far that athletes can barely get a check from their grandmother in the mail without red flags going up. Under the current rules, universities and colleges cannot recruit athletes who have competed with professionals, accepted money from benefactors to be used for things such as private high school tuition, accepted prize money won in competitions, or played for money in any league. Furthermore, current college athletes cannot be paid for giving lessons in their sport or accept grants from the U.S. Olympic committee (Suggs 54). A player cannot do anything that might jeopardize his or her status as an amateur. This rule is somewhat farfetched, even affecting work outside of the sports world. For example, Darnell Autry, University of Northwestern running back and theater major, went to Italy over the summer and appeared in a motion picture. He could not be paid for his services in the movie because it would damage his amateur status (Greenlee 63). This had nothing to do with college...
Cited: Brown, Jeff. "Compensation for the Student-Athlete: Preservation of Amateurism." 5 Kansas Journal of Law 147 (1996): Hein Online. Web. 3 Apr. 2011.
Greenlee, Craig T. "College Athletes Deserve Some Equity." Black Issues in Higher Education 17 (2000): 62-63.
Bruinius, Harry. "College Players Still Amateurs…but barely." Christian Science Monitor 92 (2000): 1.
Wulf, Steve. "Tote that Ball, Lift that Revenue." Time 148, 21 Oct. 1996: 94.
Murphy, Pace, and Jonathan Pace. "A Plan for Compensating Student-Athletes." Brigham Young University Education & Law Journal (1994): 167-186.
Suggs, Welch. "The NCAA Debates the Meaning of Amateurism." Chronicle of Higher Education 46 (2000): 53-54.
Smith, Stevin, and Don Yaeger. "Confessions of a Point Shaver." Sports Illustrated 89, 9 Nov. 1998: 92-99.
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