Sports-Opinion: College athletes deserve to be paid


Amanda Roth

Sean Dunleavy, Sports Editor

For the past five years, college athletes, coaches and members of the media have been debating whether the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) should pay their student athletes or not. Although this has been an ongoing issue for both the NCAA and their athletes, the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) documentary called The Fab Five which mentions basketball player Chris Webber’s inability to buy himself a pizza despite making millions for the university.

Colleges should be forced by the NCAA to pay their athletes because they deserve to be fairly compensated for the revenue that they bring. The NCAA argues against doing this because they believe that free tuition for scholarship athletes is compensation enough.

However, tuition can’t buy an athlete’s clothes, food or various other resources that are necessary for survival.

Also, according to USA Today, colleges make anywhere from three to two hundred million dollars per year from their sports teams. Free tuition isn’t anywhere near this.

The NCAA should pay athletes from each sport an equal percentage of the revenue from that particular sport as well as give them free tuition and travel as that is the responsibility of the university to educate and transport athletes. A number ranging anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of the total revenue of each sport should be split evenly between all varsity level, scholarship athletes on that team.

The 2008-09 University of Connecticut (UConn) mens’ basketball team can be used as an example.  During the school year, the team made a total revenue of $12 million for the school.  If 15 percent ($1.8 million) is split between the 11 scholarship players, each person would be given over $100,000 and the university still gets to keep the other 85 percent of the revenue.

The biggest hurdle in getting a deal like this done is the refusal by the NCAA to remove the amatuer tag from their organization. This tag allows the school to profit off of the hard work of the student athletes without them seeing a dime.  Their reasoning behind keeping the tag according to their website is to ensure that the main focus of the athletes is their education, which is another way of saying that they want all the money for themselves.

Student athletes are very much singled out by their schools as the only students that can’t profit off of their work. For example, if an engineering student created an innovative new product using a college’s resources and facilities, that student is still guaranteed to receive every penny that they earn from the invention.

In a way, the schools and the NCAA have partnered together to steal the money that is earned by the athletes who are just as much students as that aforementioned engineering student.

Unfortunately, the NCAA doesn’t seem very interested in helping out the athletes who put a lot of time and effort into their craft and it is unlikely that any changes will be made anytime soon.