Pass Me A Paycheck

College athletes (division I football and basketball players in particular) generate billions of dollars per year for their school and the NCAA.  Yet under current National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules, the athletes that are generating these huge amounts of money are not seeing a cent of it.  The BCS recently announced a 12 year deal with ESPN that would air the national championship and other bowl games that will generate $608 billion per year, none of which the players (the reason all the fans are watching) will see.  These athletes should lose their amateur status and begin to collect a paycheck.
One could say that a college athlete does recieve a form of payment, through getting paid a full tuition, room and board and books.  All of which would cost the average college student a pretty decent chunk of change.  In fact, the average value of a football scholarship of a team that was in the top 25 at the beginning of the 2011 season was right around 2 million dollars as reported by Forbes Magazine, which is far more than the average college tuition would cost.  The beauty of college sports as opposed to the NBA and NFL are the rich traditions that are practiced, and the school pride that connects the fan to his or her alma mater, which cannot be felt with professional sports.
Those against the payment of these athletes believe they’re receiving more than enough in payment through education.  However, with the amount of money that is generated through TV contracts, merchandising, and ticket sales on game day, one might think that the big wigs of college athletics would feel a tad bit guilty for making financial killing on these players.  In the 12 year contract mentioned earlier in the article, would it be that difficult to take a little off the top and stipend the players that make the event possible in the first place?  College sports have turned into big business, and fans have a difficult time seeing this reality through the pride and tradition they feel being connected to the school that is playing.  However, once you take away the romanticism of a football Saturday in the fall, it is a business, and for major college athletics, business is good.
Business is in the same name of the game and all businesses pay their employees, besides the NCAA.  With so many “employees” at one school, wouldn’t it be hard to figure out who to pay and exactly how much to pay them?  The solution is easy.  Give the most compensation to the most productive worker, it only makes sense.  The University of Missouri football team generated 25.3 million dollars in revenue in the 2009-2010 season, which was far more than the Missouri softball team did.  If my next statement comes to surprise anyone, you’ve been under a rock for… forever.  Football and basketball are king in college, and they have become a business, the NCAA needs to be a loyal boss and pay their employees.

The Crusader Raid, Vol.6, Num. 2
The Christmas Wrapping Paper Issue
December 2013
Michael Tannehill

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