By Daniel Johnson
Student-Athletes have been generating abundant amounts of money for colleges and universities for as long as most of us have been alive. The debate about whether or not the simple scholarship for college athletes is enough of a reward has been a debate for decades. In recent years, the debate has heated up as college athletics are making more money than ever before, over $11 billion in revenue last year. To put this mind blowing number into perspective, that is more than the NBA (National Basketball Association) and NHL (National Hockey League) both make respectively. With all of this money being earned by the hard work and dedication of athletes on a daily basis, I find it hard to believe that a percentage of this money should not be returned to the athletes.
Being a student-athlete is a full time job and forces athletes to dedicate hours upon hours to their sport. Regular students have hours of free time every day to socialize with friends, complete homework, party, or even take a nice relaxing nap. Athletes, on the other hand, are busy the majority of days from sunrise until sunset, forcing them to make decisions on whether or not to sleep or talk to the cute student they always see on their way to class. The average division one college football player devotes 43.3 hours a week to their sport, which is more than an average work week! Statistics like these make you realize how similar student-athletes are to employees and why they should receive compensation for their performance.
The main problem I have with student-athletes not receiving compensation is where the generated money ends up. If the vast majority of collegiate athletic money was being pumped back into schools in order to improve classrooms and learning, I would have much less of a problem with athletes not being paid. However, this is not the case as large sums of money are distributed to administrators, coaches, and athletics directors. Due to the fact that the NCAA is not allowed to pay athletes, everyone around the athletes’ benefits and receives more money. Last year the average BCS eligible college football coach’s salary was over $2,000,000. Not to mention, large programs such as Michigan who paid their head coach, Jim Harbaugh, over $9,000,000 last year. Collegiate sports are at an all-time high in terms of revenue right now and everyone seems to be benefitting immensely from this except for the athletes who actually play in the games.
All of these different reasons factor into my reasoning about why athletes should be paid. The NCAA makes so much money that it is hard to imagine them struggling at all from giving athletes a little bit of money for their hard work. Athletes put too much time and effort into their sport to be forced to watch everyone around them become rich while they are struggling to find money for a late night meal after a long day of training. Do you believe athletes should be given compensation?