It is coming to that time of year where the college playoffs and bowl games are upon us.
At this time of year the question always seems to come up, should we pay college athletes? To me, there is no doubt in my mind that we need stop exploiting our athletes and pay them to play. They put in hours upon hours of hard work and dedication; yet what do they get out of it? The universities however, earn millions and millions of dollars from the sporting events, but the student athletes don’t receive a dime of that money. These players risk career-ending injuries every time they step onto the court, field, or rink. However, if the college athletes were paid for their service to the sport, they would lose any scholarships. So, once again, the college athlete suffers. The NCAA currently produces nearly $11 billion in annual revenue from college sports—more than the estimated total league revenues of both the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League. What we as fans fail to realize are the sacrifices that these athletes are making in order to play a college sport.
When a college athlete commits to their respective sport, they are committing to dedicating to an average of 43.3 hours per week to his or her sport, which is 3.3 more hours than the typical American workweek; yet not a dime is paid to the athletes. Could you imagine what the outrage would be for a working individual if they worked for just an hour without pay? Now put yourself in the shoes of a college athlete. What is the difference between the two? And to make it even harder on the athletes, they not only are dedicating forty plus hours a week to their sport, but they are also required to meet certain academic standings in order to even be considered to be eligible to play. At the end of the day, college athletes are just like all other hard-working Americans who should receive a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. The athlete pours all they have into their sport, and at any point in time, it can be taken away. For instance, Eric Legrand, was recruited to play football at Rutgers and entitled to the free education that comes along with the recruitment. He was chasing his dream of making it to the NFL, which was all taken away on one tackle that fractured two of his vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed. Legrand has said of his terrible accident, “Now, every day, I fight a different battle, a battle on the road to recovery, I am determined to walk again.” Legrand now has thousands of dollars in medical bills that he is unable to pay due to him being paralyzed. The University isn’t going to pay his bills; his family is now taxed with that burden. Could you image getting hurt at work and your company refusing to pay for your medical bills? If that were the case, the outrage would be immense!
So, again, I pose the question what is the difference here?
Let’s also take a closer look at some of the financials. Back in 2010, there was an 11 billion dollar deal that was made between the NCAA and CBS/Turner Sports for March Madness, in which the deal runs from 2011 through 2024. This March Madness runs for only two weeks a year, and it’s worth 11 billion dollars! Not only is that an absurd amount of money, but also when you really dissect it all, you come to realize that the college athletes are the ones generating the money. These are the same college athletes that don’t see a dime of this money! Another scathing example of how the college athlete is being mistreated is with last year’s college football national championship game. It brought in over 200 million dollars alone, and that is not counting the other amounts of revenue that the other bowl games brought in as well. Yet again, not a dime goes to those who do the work: the athletes.
At the end of the day it seems there is a simple fix. We must pay our college athletes! They are not just members of the team. They are being used as a tool to market their respective universities. In all reality, their main goal is to bring in the money for the NCAA and the universities they represent. They don’t see a dime of profit. They are not just regular students. They are employees of the NCAA and deserve to get paid for what they bring to the table. It’s time to stop the exploitation of these athletes who generate huge revenues for their schools. Pay them to play!
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