Paying College Athletes Essay

2312 words - 10 pages

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Eli Roberts Mason English 110/4 08 January 2015 Paying College Athletes College football and basketball are two sports that Americans have grown up with and obsessed over. In today’s sports news, a very active debate is taking place on whether college athletes should be paid. Even though the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) makes billions of dollars a year off of student-athletes from Division One football and basketball, scholarships still do not pay for the full cost of college and living expenses, making it hard on some athletes to sustain a healthy lifestyle. As the NCAA significantly benefits financially from Division One mens football and basketball, the ...view middle of the document...

However, the top Division One coaches along with the NCAA staff get paid immensely. Nick Saban, the Alabama football coach, and John Calipari, the Kentucky mens basketball coach, earn $6.9 million and $7.5 million a year respectively (Karaim 2). Why is it that the coach who leads the team gets paid, but the players, who are the ones actually playing the game, do not? Student-athletes receive scholarships instead of pay checks; however, these scholarships do not cover the full cost of college, making college life difficult at times. A full-ride scholarship today pays for tuition, fees, room, board and books; which generally corresponds to anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 depending on the school. However, according to experts Dennis Johnson and John Acquaviva in The Sport Journal, “The Collegiate Athletes Coalition (CAC) estimates that NCAA scholarships are worth about $2000 less than the cost of attending a university, as it does not account for expenses such as travel and sundries” (10). The inequality between the NCAA and student-athletes is clear, hence the lawsuits filed against the NCAA stating the NCAA cannot prohibit college players from sharing in the proceeds from broadcasts and video games in which the players are featured. This debate started in 2009, when Ed O’Bannon, a former UCLA basketball star filed a lawsuit against the NCAA as well as EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company for using his likeness on a video game without his consent (Eder 1). While this issue has been discussed for many years prior to O’Bannon’s lawsuit, the legal question has brought new focus and meaning to the debate. The suit has forced many people to further question the NCAA’s policies.

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There are several factors that support the argument for the payment of college athletes. The Division One college athletes in basketball and football are creating billions of dollars in revenue for the NCAA and their universities, and it seems logical that those athletes should receive a percentage of that financial windfall. Another significant point is that the student-athletes in football and basketball dedicate approximately 40-50 hours a week toward their sport, which includes practices, travel days, and games. As Joe Nocera states in his article, “Lets Start Paying College Athletes”, “During the season, they can end up putting in 50-hour weeks at their sports, and they learn early on not to take any course that might require real effort or interfere with the primary reason they are on campus: to play football or basketball” (2,3). Given the time commitment, the student-athletes do not have the time necessary for taking a job, as many other students find necessary, resulting in a financial burden, leaving the athlete short of extra cash for mandatory items such as food and clothing. For example, The University of Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier reported that he sometimes goes to bed “starving” because he cannot afford food. Representative Matthew...

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