College Athletes should be paid College Sports is a multi-billion-dollar business for the NCAA. College basketball recently fetched $11 billion broadcast for a broadcast contract for the rights to air playoffs. College Football and Basketball coaches are, in most states, the most highly paid public employees. It is impossible to argue that College sports have not become more of a business and money-making venture than anyone thought possible when they first began. Unfortunately, the NCAA has not adapted to this change nearly as readily as they take multi-billion-dollar broadcasting contracts.
College athletes, the drivers of these earnings and the reason College sports are as popular as they are, are still unpaid “amateurs.”
In the opinion of the NCAA, it would be unfair to pay college athletes. Not only are they considered amateurs, and primarily students, doing so would cause a competitive imbalance. That suggested imbalance would be caused by richer colleges being able to pay athletes more, and therefore getting better athletes.
Similarly, they argue, only wealthier schools would be able to fund college athletics at all, and there would be less overall interest and involvement with the sports. While these views are not entirely invalid, they fail to recognize the already existing competitive imbalance that paying student athletes would likely not change.
From 1950 to 2006, 13 teams made up 50% of Final Four appearances, showing that a competitive imbalance undeniably exists already. Also, arguing that colleges would be unable to pay for the programs after this is almost entirely invalid. One only needs to look to the salaries of coaches involved in college athletics to see the investments Colleges are willing in making in their teams.
Coaches of college sports are the highest paid public employees in 40 states, and in almost all the 40 the highest paid coach rakes in a multi-million-dollar salary. With almost all schools in the competitive realm employing multiple coaches with multi-million dollar salaries, it is ridiculous to argue that the same schools are not willing to provide the resources to their athletic programs necessary to pay their student athletes.
Because a competitive imbalance already exists in collegiate sports, college athletes should be compensated fairly for the immense amount of work they put into honing their game, practicing with their team, and making money for their college. While colleges compensation in the form of Scholarships, this is not enough, especially for “one and done” athletes who will move on to professional athletics after their freshman year. For these athletes, scholarships are worthless, and in exchange for their year of hard work and boon in ticket sales for the university (“one and done” athletes are the best at their sports and bring in large crowds and ticket sales) they are left with nothing. By paying college athletes, we can be more fair to the producers of the entertainment we all enjoy, and we can help young stars make the money they deserve for their hard work and dedication.
Paying College athletes is especially beneficial in certain circumstances. For instance, some athletes come from poorer backgrounds, and money earned through college sports could be sent back to help their families. Also, previously mentioned “one and done” athletes would be fairly compensated for the benefits they bring the school, as scholarships are essentially useless to them. These athletes would initially be secure against potential injuries sustained while playing in college. One injury could seriously jeopardize their care from playing in college they could be in financial ruin and poverty for the rest of their lives.
The benefits are not just for the athletes, however, because paying college athletes could better the sport for us all. Paid athletes would be more willing to play their hardest, as they would have financial insurance against potential injuries. Also, if athletes were paid the “one and done” issue plaguing the league might be solved. These athletes would have less incentive to go directly to the professional leagues because their financial needs would be met in college. This would lead to better quality sports and better athletes in college competition. The benefits would extend to professional sports as well; rookies would become better, more experienced athletes, and with some money going in they’d have more freedom to play for teams they’d like to and negotiate contracts with more freedom. Athlete’s families could be lifted out of poverty, and even athletes who sustained injuries would have savings to insure they could get back on their feet.
The benefits of paying college athletes stretch beyond just giving fair compensation to individuals who work hard to bring in millions of dollars for their schools and athletic organizations. They extend to us all. The only thing that would be harmed even slightly would be the pocket-books of athletic departments, but even these departments have proved how much they are willing to invest through multi-million dollar salaries for their coaches. College sports, healed of the “one-and-done” problem, would become more exciting and therefore profitable. Professional sports would get better, stronger, more experienced rookies. Families can be lifted out of poverty. By paying college athletes, college athletics can be improved forever.