It’s time to pay student-athletes

Becca Langys, Assistant Photo Editor

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As this school year continues to speed past us, it has come to my attention that more and more individuals have started to debate on whether or not collegiate athletes deserve to be paid for their participation in certain collegiate sports.

To start out this debate on a logical note, we must realize that it is virtually impossible for collegiate athletes to maintain an outside job when they have practices, games, study tables and other responsibilities. Anybody who argues that collegiate athletes should be able to juggle a job on top of their sport has clearly never witnessed the schedule of a collegiate athlete. Between 5 a.m. practices, classes, team meetings and games, there is no realistic time that these athletes can set aside to maintain a job.

With that being said, people who oppose the payment of college athletes often argue that collegiate athletes usually receive hefty scholarships and therefore don’t really need to be paid extra for their sport. Sure athletes may receive large scholarships, but these scholarships do more than just cover tuition, travel expenses and athletic fees, they also provide the athletes with money to live off of.

So now stands the question, why aren’t these athletes being paid back for the money that they make for their organizations and leagues?

Collegiate athletes across the country are faced with a dilemma that has been an ongoing problem for these individuals for quite some time now: payment. Athletes who have chosen to participate in collegiate sports are oftentimes streamed on ESPN, included in video games, used in commercials for their selected sports, and yet don’t ever receive a check for these different mediums of exploitation.

The NCAA argues that paying college athletes would remove the amateur nature from the game, making it more about the money and less about the sport. It seems very convenient, however, that the organization making billions of dollars off these collegiate athletes would want to withhold payment from such athletes. One can only ask, does the NCAA really care about keeping the game amateur? Or are they just maintaining this stance so that they end up with more money in their own pockets?

To give an example, let us look at the phenomenon that is currently the highest talked about topic in collegiate sports, March Madness. Last year, the NCAA made over $1 billion during the March Madness tournament, none of which would be paid back to the players. The NCAA receives high amounts of revenue between merchandising, ticket sales and more, while the student athletes never receive a dime for their play in these tournaments. Without the participation of these collegiate athletes, there would be no tournament, and therefore it is only fair that the league begins to consider payment options for these athletes who make billions of dollars for the NCAA. The athletes participating in this tournament walk away with nothing more than the experience, some free apparel and maybe an injury or two, while the league walks away with more money in their pockets.

When looking at collegiate athletics from a football standpoint, it is even more disappointing to find that these players are making such large sums of money for their regulatory organizations and are continuing to receive no cut of the money that they help make. College football makes the NCAA approximately $3.4 billion a year. People pay to watch these players go out and endanger their bodies, so why wouldn’t these players get a cut of the money that is being earned directly because of their performances?

Reggie Bush, former NFL player and previous star of the USC football team, agrees with this point.

“You know the way I look at it, especially for football, they’re putting their bodies and livelihoods on the line. Just like we are, even at the professional level,” Bush said. “Just to say that college education is enough when the universities are making so much money off the athletes. They’re selling your likeness. Selling your jerseys, bobbleheads, whatever else, blankets, whatever else they can sell, while you are there for those 3 or 4 years.”

Bush feels that collegiate football players should be compensated for all the money they make for the league and their schools, which is only fair considering just how much revenue they make for the NCAA.

Just as it works in basketball, sports fans across the country pay tons of money to watch their favorite football teams play while the players, who ultimately attract the fans, receive nothing to compensate for that.

So the bottom line is simple, if collegiate athletes are making your organization billions of dollars, it only seems fair that they receive a cut of this revenue. When will the NCAA stop withholding money from their athletes?

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