As thegreat Bob Dylan sang “The Times They Are a-Changin’.
” College sports have beenaltered tremendously due to college athletes over the past years. One cannothelp but see some kind of college sport headline these days. For many decades’college athletes have been putting time and effort into making the NationalCollegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) billions. The amount of money the NCAAtakes in from college athletes can be is seen through advertisements, media andsports memorabilia goes right back into the NCAA’s pockets. Millions ofdollars that these college athletes earn for their college and not a singledime is given to the players legally.
In return for all of their hard work theathletes are just left with a story to telland none of the money they have earned for their school or the NCAA. All thesecollege athletes are asking for is compensation for their hard work; justenough to help them get by is all they’re asking for. In return, the athletesget a scholarship for their college of choice but the amount is minisculecompared to how much money they make for the school and NCAA. Since the NCAA isnot paying them anything, athletes go proas early as they are able to. The Atlantic journalist Taylor Branch, whowrote “The Shame of College Sports”, argues the point that athletes should becompensated considerably for what they make for their college and NCAA. On theother hand, some believe college athletes shouldn’t be compensated at all.
Acompromise must be created that will allow colleges and the NCAA to put moneyinto a fund to pay players’ salaries, this would eliminate the incentive to tryand cheat the system. The NCAA is a non-profit organizationthat was founded in 1906 by former president Theodore Roosevelt. The goal ofthe organization was to protect young people from the dangerous athleticspractices of the time.
When President Roosevelt called a conference becausethere was a need to review the rules for football because the injuries anddeaths had continued to rise, he posed the question whether or not footballshould be “regulated or had to be abolished at the intercollegiate level” asseen today, it was regulated and continues to be (Smith 12). Also stated in thearticle was “initially, the NCAA was formed to formulate rules that could beapplied to the various intercollegiate sports” (Smith 12) which further showsthat the NCAA was designed for the intercollegiate sports and not specificallyfor the sports and the players’ safety while participating in said sport. Asthe NCAA grew, more and more rules were established and eventually the firstever championship was constructed. With more rules came more responsibility onthe members and hence committees were formed. Progressing at a rapid pace, theNCAA needed a home base of operations which was established in Kansas City,Missouri, in 1952.
With college athletics becoming popular, competitivedivisions were created; I, II, and III which gives athletes a chance to choosea better school to attend that focuses more so on athleticism. The NCAA existsto con and mislead the entire sports industry, because to this day thescholarship programs for the Division I schools surpasses those of Division IIIschools exponentially. The NCAA is anorganization that was put in place for good intention to protect collegeathletes and to ensure rules, however as they have grown the NCAA has become a barrierfor improvement in college sports.
There needs to be a reconstruction of theAthletic Association to take a step back and stop having as much control overthe way college sports are handled, just as Smith stated that the intendedinitial purpose was to create rules to insure player safety and to create rulesfor the NCAA. Sporting events have always been animportant part of American culture. Amateurism, defined by Webster Dictionary,is a person who does something for pleasure and not as a job. This means thatevery college athlete is by all technicalities an amateur.
Confirmed in on theNCAA’s website, “amateur competition is a bedrock principle of collegeathletics and the NCAA. Maintaining amateurism is crucial of preserving anacademic environment in which acquiring a quality education is the firstpriority.” The website continues to list what amateurism requirements do not allow.Another term that the NCAA uses is student-athlete which defined on theirwebsite is a participant in an organized competitive sport sponsored by theeducational institution in which he or she is enrolled. According to Branch’sarticle, the student-athlete is a myth:the term student-athletewas deliberately ambiguous.
College players were not students at play (whichmight understate their athletic obligations), nor were they just athletes incollege (which might imply they were professionals). That they werehigh-performance athletes meant they could be forgiven for not meeting theacademic standards of their peers; that they were students meant they did nothave to be compensated, ever, for anything more than the cost of their studies.Student-athlete became the NCAA’s signature term, repeated constantly inand out of courtrooms.This demonstrates just how the NCAA is able to manipulatetheir word by having a lax definition of the term which benefits them laterdown the road by being able to use the student-athlete defense. The NCAA focuses on student-athletesand amateurism because all athletes begin as student athletes, no one is aprofessional to begin with, and it is classified as amateurism solely by theschool.
It is argued by educators and fans the “amateurism is the whole point”but as soon as college athletes get an offer to play professionally they areencouraged to jump at the opportunity as soon as it occurs leaving one toquestion whether or not amateurism is truly the whole point. College athleticsare a big deal, the NCAA makes millions from ticket sales, media, branding,amongst others. On all NCAA affiliated apparel, one finds big name corporationsusing the apparel as a way of advertising for their company. These corporationspay the NCAA millions of dollars just to have their logos stamped on theapparel, all the money that is paid for the advertisement doesn’t go to theplayers whose names are on the apparel but straight to the NCAA. A big part ofthe NCAA’s revenue comes from March Madness, in Branch’s article he states “Lastyear, CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting paid $771 million to the NCAA fortelevision rights to the 2011 men’s basketball tournament alone.
That’sthree-quarters of a billion dollars built on the backs of amateurs—on unpaidlabor.” Almost a billion dollars just for media rights, Branch makes a goodpoint how all that money is “built on the backs of amateurs — on unpaid floor”and the athletes cannot do anything about it. On top of creating competitive divisions and rules for theNCAA, President Roosevelt “also noted that the NCAA would serve as secondarypurpose in ensuring no student shall represent a college or university in anyintercollegiate game… who has at any time received…money or any consideration”(Vanderford 807). This act makes it where no college athlete is able to receiveany payment of any kind.
All of these companies and organizations are makingmillions and just how much are the athletes making; not a dime, in fact, it isillegal for them to. In a court case where a college athlete wanted to have theright for compensation, the NCAA came up with defense after defense and thecourt put down their remarks saying that the “NCAA attempted to assure that the restrictions on student athletecompensation have significantly contributed to the popularity of these sports,the court found this to be incorrect” (Roessler 943). In all of theinstances where college athletes have tried to get compensation, they have beendenied for all athletes to get it. Itis time for the NCAA to change their policies allowing college athletes to getpaid for their time and effort. Branch offers a solution that athletes shouldtreated as “adults, with rights and reason of their own—and grant them ameaningful voice in NCAA deliberations.
” By allowing the athletes to have a saythere would be no middle ground because of course the athletes want money fortheir athleticism. On the other hand, Vanderford agrees that student athletesshould be compensated but a small fraction of what they bring in for thecollege. A middle ground needs to be found and having the NCAA put money into afund to pay players’ salaries fits the spot. By establishing a fund,the college athletes would in return for their athleticism they would have spendingmoney that would help pay for schooling and their education.
By having themoney go back into their education it will encourage athletes to not go pro assoon as the opportunity presents itself and when the athlete finished theirschooling they would get to have the leftover money that they have earned to goTimes are changing and the NCAA needsto realize that the regulations put forth by President Roosevelt so long ago, needto be revamped and changed. Athletes will then be allowed to be compensated fortheir athleticism because it would help not only the college they attend butthe athletes themselves because it would give motive to stay in college and getan education instead of going pro and leaving schooling in the dust, also theathletes would be financially stable when they finished their schooling. Withall the money the athletes are bringing in for their school and the money thatthe NCAA is making from media and apparel, the NCAA needs to put forth moneyinto a fund where it can go towards the athlete’s education. Just as Branchpointed out that athletes should be compensated considerably whether it isscholarship or a fund in the end it is time for athletes to get paid.
No underthe table deals will need to be made illegally, and at the end of the day bothparties benefit.