At some colleges, college athletics are a key source of income, and they attract students to their institutions. Universities depend on their athletes to produce and maintain the popularity of their school’s name. College athletes are suppose to be the best of the best on that level, so why do college athletes not get paid? The National Collegiate Athletic Association, NCAA, says that it is trying to protect the athletes from "exploitation by professional and commercial enterprises" (Brawn). Many argue that student athletes should not be paid because they are receiving an education through a scholarship. These people feel that the promise of their education being paid for is enough for the college athletes. On the opposite side of the issue, people argue that the college athlete generates enough income for the universities, and they feel that the university owes the athletes more than a scholarship. Student athletes should be given a small stipend for their services to the university.
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According to the 2002-03Division I Manual, under bylaws: Article 12, "Pay is the receipt of funds, awards or benefits not permitted by the governing legislation of the Association" (Earle 69). This article was on of the rules that were put into the manual to protect the amateurism. College athletes are looked upon as amateur player, and the NCAA wants to protect the athlete from being influenced by money much like the professional players are. Though college players have not reached the professional level, they are required to work at their sports like they are professionals. Larue, a MTSU football player says, "My typical schedule is school, workout or practice, and sleep. I don’t have much personal time or much time to study" (Larue). To many college athletes, it is a job, and they are willing to put in all the work necessary to be the best. In sports an "ace" is "A top-notch professional, or one who sets the standards for others," and in college level sports there are many aces (Palmatier 1). According to research done by Andrew Zimbalist, the NCAA is "guaranteed income of 75 million between 1997 and 2002," and they market and receive sponsoring much like the professional leagues (Zimbalist 4). Giving the athletes a stipend of amounts that vary between 100 and 200 dollars per month is a small price to pay in order to maintain the athletes. Rep. Ron Wilson of Texas has filed a bill proposing such a stipend. According to Wally Renfro, a NCAA spokesman, the stipend would be a "special benefit", but if it were allowed to all schools and all athletes them it would not be (Austin). This stipend could help to cover expenses that are not covered in the scholarship. Larue stated, "A little money a month would go a long way" (Larue).
Many people are against paying college athletes because they feel that they do not need or already receive compensation for using their skills for the universities profit. Many say that receiving a scholarship for their education is enough, and education is a great gift to the students. For the people that believe that education is must important, Rep. Wilson says, "(Many) of them won’t graduate and the schools know it" (Austin). In fact, according to NCAA 2001 Graduation Rates Report, among college athletes with a four-class average the graduation rate is 59%(NCAA). Student athletes are promised an education to play, and many do not get to receive it. The NCAA argues, "most schools don’t make money off athletics". In college athletic, the athlete is the talent, and people come to games to watch them. The NCAA makes deals with networks like CBS to televise tournaments, and school make deals with networks to televise certain games (Brawn). On top of that, "college sports teams do not have to pay entertainment tax," which means that everything they make goes to the school (Brawn). The spectators that come to games, watch on television, and even the sponsors are interested in watching the athletes on the college level compete, which means that the universities are indeed profiting from the athletes.
Why do college athletes need to get paid? The typical Division I athletic scholarship provides "tuition, room and board and books" (Austin). For many athletes that is were it ends. "Well basically, I never have any money," states Larue, "During the weekend I don’t get to go many places unless another football player is going." Many college athletes take scholarships because, if it was not for the scholarship, they would not be able to get into college. Their families are unable to provide for them, so they are sent to college with a scholarship and expected to survive. With what little free time that they have, they are unable to go for a drive, go see a movie, or even have a relationship. "Really, it is like you are stuck on campus" (Larue). With a stipend or some other form of payment, the athlete could afford to catch a movie or go shopping for clothes. The athlete could afford the necessities in life that are not provided by the scholarship. Without the stipend, and unable to have jobs, the college athlete lives a life that only consists of schoolwork and athletic training, and they have to rely heavily on teammates for support.
College athlete should receive some form of payment for the universities they attend or from the NCAA itself. College athletes are human just like every other student. By denying them the ability to make money and not paying them, the NCAA and its members are expecting the athletes to live a sub-human existence, and putting them at a disadvantage to finish their college education. Many argue that the system is fine just the way it is, but they are not fully considering the needs of the college athlete.
College athletes make enough money for universities that it would not hurt to give some back. In conclusion, college sports will always be a big money maker for big time universities and colleges. They should take better care of their athletes by paying them for their services.
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