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The Issue Of Compensating Student Athletes

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Today we often hear about scandals, and corruption within the NCAA, players receiving certain benefits or being paid somehow under the table. If the NCAA legally allowed to pay their athletes corruption would spread throughout the Association and would require massive oversight into each and every university by fair, and unbiased regulators (Johnson & Acquaviva, 2012). There are also many practical issues with paying collegiate athletes. How much would the student athletes be paid? Would better, more electric players get paid more than someone who may not play as much or have a less “valuable” position? What would be the recourse for an injured player? Anyone who says that the road to paying college athletes is an easy one is lying to themselves. Many of the non-revenue sports at colleges will lose drastic funding. Studies show that very few Division I football, and men’s basketball programs actually turn a profit. This would lead to the shutting down of other sports like baseball, hockey, lacrosse, as well as female sports as a whole, as they simply can’t afford to fund them (Johnson & Acquaviva, 2012).

Following the passing of Title IX in 1972, the AIAW (Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women), thus taking on the responsibilities of female sports at the collegiate level (Johnson & Acquaviva, 2012). On the surface it may seem that the NCAA has flourished, it has expanded to three divisions, holds a multitude of championships annually totaling 79 (Coleman, 2018), and boasts over 1,300 member institutions with over 400,000 (Coleman, 2018) student athletes attending said universities. NCAA President Mark Emmert reports that the revenues for the 2010-2011 fiscal year is projected around $757 million, however $452.2 million will go to its Division I members. Despite the NCAA seeing a large growth over the years, paying college athletes might still be out of reach (Johnson & Acquaviva, 2012).

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A typical D1 athlete will take around 33.3 hours a week honing their craft. Assuming a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which is over $240 a week per player. Now let us take just a school’s football team of up to 85 student athletes (). Now the weekly cost of simply maintaining players’ wages is nearly $20,400 a week just for the football team. In NCAA they boast a staggering 130 college football teams. This is now almost 2.7 million dollars weekly. Unlike most students attending university, athletes are forced to continue training for their sport whether that be on or off campus. Meaning that their jobs take up the entire year. We are now up to an annual cost of $137,904,000. This may seem like an enormous price tag; however, it gets worse. This only covers the cost of paying football players, there is a plethora of college sports teams, men and women alike that would also be forced to receive payment.

However, the greatest thing that colleges and universities have to offer is their education. According to the U.S census bureau, that those who possess a college degree earn over $1,000,000 more than non-graduates. The issue now arises of continuing to offer scholarships in addition to supplemental payment, or simply having one or the other. Paying athletes would cause them to focus even less on their schoolwork (Johnson & Acquaviva, 2012). If an athlete were to get injured, would he even remain a student at the university? The majority of student athletes will not go on to play sports on a professional level, so why teach them to rely on their athletic talents alone, they must become educated for life after sports.

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The Issue Of Compensating Student Athletes. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 22, 2024, from
“The Issue Of Compensating Student Athletes.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
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