Over the years, the debate on whether or not to pay
collegiate athletes, specifically Division 1, has increased greatly. With
athletes bringing in millions of dollars to their respective schools, many
believe it’s time to make a change. The debate has been ongoing since the
70’s, maybe even earlier, but it really came to the attention of many in the
early 90’s, specifically 1995. Marcus Camby, a basketball player for the
Toronto Raptors, admitted he took money and jewelry, from somebody who wanted
to be his agent, while he was playing at the University of Massachusetts.
This was one of many incidents that involved a player accepting money and
other gifts from an agent and/or booster. I believe that college athletes
deserve to be paid in some fashion. They devote their whole life to their
sport, whether or not they are the starters, and most will not go on to the
pros, even though they contribute to the team. They sell tickets, jerseys,
T-shirts etc. for their school, and see none of the money. Coaches sign six
figure deals with shoe companies, like Nike, Reebok, Converse, and the
players are the ones wearing the shoes and jerseys, the coaches have on
whatever they want. Even though just recently the NCAA Committee allowed
athletes to get a job; between schoolwork, and practices, they don’t have
enough time to find a job. Most of the kids come from poor backgrounds, and
don’t have enough money to do normal college things, like going out to eat,
going on a date, or out to the movies.
People believe that paying college athletes will ruin the tradition and
innocence of the game. However, people forget that Olympians get paid, and
most of them are amateur athletes. "Gold medallists from the United
States receive a minimum of $15,000 for their success (from the U.S. Olympic
Committee and the national governing body of the winner's sport), USA Today,
Final Ed." These Olympians can also capitalize on endorsement deals and
other additional bonuses, most of which are illegal in college athletics. The
innocence of the game is already in jeopardy, in a June 24th, 1996 issue of
The NCAA News, " Studies indicate that 75 percent of underclassmen have
received cash or gifts from an agent." That’s a pretty high number,
three out of every four are involved in illegal activities involving agents,
and 90 percent of projected first round draft picks have had contact with an
agent, (Steve Wulf, Time pg. 94). If they received some compensation for the
hard work, this corruption would gradually lessen, because the need for money
Just recently the NCAA allowed college athletes to get a job, but seriously,
where are the athletes going to find the time to work. With classes,
schoolwork, practices, and games (which include traveling all over the
country), when are they going to fit in time to serve fries at Burger King.
"I guess it’s a good thing," says Indiana University freshman guard Michael
Lewis. "But between class and basketball, I’d like to know when I’ve got time
to flip burgers." You have to be realistic, and having the athletes get a job
isn’t very realistic. It’s hard enough now for the athletes to fit in time
for themselves let alone work. After a long day of practice and school,
they’ll be too tired to go to work. "No employer is going to want to employ
someone that can only work such select hours," freshman gymnast Dominic
Most coaches sign lucrative contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars
with sports companies, and aren’t the ones wearing the Nike shoes or jersey,
the players are. The marquee players sell jerseys with their numbers on them,
but they don’t see the money from them. Schools sign large contracts with
television stations for millions (even billions) of dollars, to see the kids
play. Why is it that these players don’t get even a little of it back?
They’re the ones putting on the show; they are the ones that deserve some of
the money. They sell the tickets, people go to the games to see the players,
not the college presidents and in most cases not even the coaches, but they
(coaches) are the ones making millions, while the ones really working see
nothing. "The coaches own the athletes’ feet, the college own the athletes’
bodies, and the supervisors retain the large rewards," Walter Byers,
Executive Director of NCAA from 1952 to 1987. In the 70’s and earlier college
athletes received fifteen dollars a month, called "Laundry Money", (Steve
Wulf, Time pg. 94). Numerous people make a living of the players, coaches,
athletic directors, NCAA executives; I could go on for awhile if I had to.
How would you feel if you supported numerous people with your hard work, and
saw none of the money yourself. I’d feel cheated and exploited. "There are a
lot of people who make livings off of us," Van horn was saying Friday on the
eve of the Utah-Kentucky West Region Final at San Jose Arena. "They wouldn’t
have jobs without us. We’re making a lot of money for a lot of people. The
NCAA doesn’t come close to giving us enough. The education is something to
appreciate but it’s hard to think of that when you’re living on hot dogs
every day." Though many are coming to the conclusion that these athletes
deserve to be paid, the only people that can change this are the directors of
the NCAA. I Believe that though paying the athletes, which includes all sports,
female and male, may be a little hard to do financially, why shouldn’t the
athletes be able to cash in on deals with Nike, like the coaches. If a coach
signs a deal with Nike worth $300,000 dollars, why shouldn’t it be split
among the athletes and the coach? Coaches already make six to seven digits a
year, why do they need more. If it’s divided among the fifteen on the
basketball team, that’s $20,000 per athlete. Or like in football, where there
are more players, that’s still $5,000 an athlete. That’s a lot more then
they’re making now, and there are more contracts then that the schools and
coaches sign. There are so many different methods of solving this problem;
it’s about time the NCAA starts looking at them. Bibliography
1) Coomes, Mark. "The Run for the Money." Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.).
June 1996: A1+. Sports. Eleanor Goldstein. Vol. 5. Boca Raton: SIRS 1996.
2) Johns, Keith. "College Athletes Sell Products but Never See the Profits."
3) Looney, Douglas S. "Cash, Check, or Charge?" Sporting News. July 1, 1996:
38+. Sports. Eleanor Goldstein. Vol. 5. Boca Raton: SIRS, 1996. Art. 13.
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Shropshire, Kenneth. "College Athletes Deserve Pay, Olympians Get Paid. So Do
College Coaches, Why Not The Stars?" USA Today, Final Edition. 18 Sept. 1996.
Sec. A p: 15. 6) Clark, Liz. "Athletes Say They Deserve to Be Paid."
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The Fresno Bee. Scripps Howards News Service. (11/14/98)
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