Post Classifieds

Paying NCAA Athletes?

By Peter Adams
On November 1, 2011

Just last week the NCAA passed two monumental measures that will no doubt have an effect on the college sports landscape in the future. The first change implements a regulation that would require individual teams to graduate enough of their players in order to compete

in postseason competitions. The second, and the focus of this article, is pending conference

approval. It would allow schools to pay athletes on a full-ride scholarship an additional $2,000 to cover the cost of attendance.

My thoughts on the ruling? Good, but not nearly good enough. This would give athletes in the two sports that generate the most revenue for college athletic programs (football and basketball) a total "scholarship benefit" of between $40,000 to $50,000 per athlete. In 2009, the median

household

income in the United States was about $50,000. This is egregious — an outrage. An 18-year-old gets paid as much to play a game as a family working 40 hours a week in one of the wealthiest countries in the world?

So why would anyone advocate for these athletes to receive more money? For me, the reason is simple: the NCAA loves the money that basketball and football players produce but hates for any of those students to actually make any money from their talents;

at least not until they graduate

or leave their university. This is the only extracurricular activity in college where getting paid for your talents actually would make it impossible to participate in that activity. Someone in one of the political clubs we have on campus could go out and get paid for campaigning, a musician could join a professional band, an artist could sell a painting. In all three of these cases, their eligibility to participate in their respective

club is in no way prohibited. However, college athletes can't even keep their own jerseys from the summer leagues in which they participate.

Why are college athletes

treated so differently than regular students when economically, they generate so much more money? Last month, a study argued that if college athletes were given the same share of revenue

as professional sports, then the average football player would be given $126,000 and an average basketball player would be paid $256,000. If those numbers are accurate and unbiased, then it seems like the $45,000 an athlete gets isn't so crazy. College athletics

and amateurism has always been a novel concept. However, when both college basketball and football have become multi-million and -billion dollar industries,

can we really still believe the sacred ideal of amateurism is true?

I don't believe we can anymore. So why keep trying to change what is already inevitable? Ultimately, players in revenue-producing sports should be able to make some money from the millions

they generate for their respective universities. Should one player receive millions of dollars? Probably not. But what harm is there in allowing players

to receive a percentage of merchandising

sales, advertising revenue and money from television contracts? Ultimately, the athletes

are employees

of both their schools and the NCAA. The schools have directly given financial support to their student-athletes, but the NCAA has not.


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