Paying Student Athletes
College athletes work extra in the field to attract huge funds managed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and there has been debate over whether they should be under payment or not. Proponents argue that since their sporty talent stream revenue to their various institutions, she should enjoy a measurable amount of it since they are entitled to it. They assert that the compensation the players get from tuition, availed books and room allocation is not enough to appreciate the efforts. They believe that as long as the students are responsible for sport shows that have graced the television network and they are not paid, they are nothing but violated employees who do not reap what they saw. According to them, this is the epitome of unfairness, which should be considered by law. Opponents to the payment of student players on the other hand argue that such a budget is not pragmatic because on top of their salaries, there will be benefits just as normal workers. Therefore, they will become liabilities. Issues of gender payment will also arise causing controversy in what should be entertainment. The paper seeks to evaluate the pros and cons of paying student players.
Background of the NCCA
The NCCA is a conglomerate of officials of athletic programs in colleges, which started out as Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS) in 1905 in respect to the sermon of President Theodore Roosevelt. The aim of the consolidation was to determine safety measures for college sports. The conglomeration later changed its name to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCCA) in 1910. Henceforth, the organization dealt with various championships such as the National Collegiate Track and Field Championships in 1921 and the Basketball Championship in 1939.it started to scout for the best players who in return were to be granted athletic scholarships by their universities and colleges according to NCCA rule.
Bekkering (2010) explains that college basketball garnered popularity, after 1979, the NCCA began enjoying financial benefits from media coverage of the games, endorsements of sports products and coaches experienced a large payment increment. An example of an endorsement agreement the NCCA committed itself to, was the contract with the Nike Sportswear Company that remunerated NCCA coaches. The sportswear worn by the student players were indirectly promoted for the company’s sales benefit whereas, NCCA cultivated large returns from the company for the promotion. NCCA’s organization for tournaments in basketball tagged the game as the most popular sporting event in the United States up to recent dates. Otherwise, NCCA continued with their ventures in football games. The organization makes decisions based on the seasons, win or lose record and the player’s participation in the Division 1 football teams.
The NCCA considers itself as an amateur organization that works to promote solely the welfare of student players through scholarships and other programs supporting the youth (Kahn, 2006). It also creates forums for interactive experiences for the students. However, the amateurism of the organization is somehow questionable since it earns a lot of revenue from using the likeness of the players in video games presented in the television network (Sack, 2008). It is rather ironic that the amount of money gained by the colleges associated with NCAA is widely more than that generated by all NBA teams in more than one season. Therefore, NCAA makes so much profit of which the players responsible for the outcome are not properly remunerated. In addition to the money produced from game tickets and adverts, NCCA licenses sports products a fee. The organization prohibits student players from receiving wages or conducting business dealings with the sports products containing their images.
The organization’s refusal to pay athletes has sparked criticism from the people who believe that the student players deserve a lot more for the talent they show and the hard work they input in the games. Once their talent and input is used to generate income in any sort of way, they have a right to have a share of it (Yost, 2010). Some of the athletes such as Ed O’Bannon have filed lawsuits because they feel used after their likeness and expertise has been flaunted in the television network to garner profits. O’Bannon’s articulate basketball techniques have been showing in video games and have served as revenue creators for the NCAA. According to Sack (2008), the shadow that is vivid in NCCA dealings is the fact that it exhibits a business-oriented company that does not pay its employees.
Apart from its endorsement in the Nike Sportswear Company, NCCA licenses Electronic Arts, which is a video game company, and Hasbro, a toy company. The NCCA basketball games, such as the March Madness, generated $529 million from the CBS for broadcasting purposes. The Electronic Arts Company customizes the NCCA games in video games and the student players are represented in the videos as well. Most video game players go for the best-customized team or player. The fact that CBS also gained as much money drives home the point that the players’ remarkable talents in the games appeased the audience. Therefore, just like employees, they are the reasons for enormous NCCA benefits. In a normal business setting, the employee’s output is what makes the business flourish and in this sport case, the NCCA is flourishing outstandingly to the point that its profitability beats even professional leagues.
Proponents believe that the student players should be allowed to endorse products to promote their well-being because they also have various needs (Schneider, 1998). However, the NCCA acted out harshly to the University Of Southern California (USC) by stipulating penalties meant for those who breached their rule of amateurism. This proposition came after the organization realized that NFL’s Reggie Bush, a former football player in the school had business dealings as per his football games. Bush suddenly had lavish and affluent lifestyles but the organization launched a grand refutation to such endeavors.
The refutation was because NCCA upholds fair and equal competition among the student players and that the educational background of the athletes was fundamental. Therefore, all its decisions are supposed to encompass the intelligence of the students in higher education learning as well. NCCA argues that it is all rounded in observing what is best for the athletes in a very professional manner. It affirms that its sole concern is to provide a solid foundation for the nurturing of the student athletes to become professional players in the future (Schneider, 1998). However, findings show that most of the student players do not get a chance to participate professionally in the high-level leagues namely, NBA and NFL. For proponents, the students end up having wasted their precious time and efforts only to find a barrier at the end of their sports road. According to them, it would be in order to pay the student athlete to justify their work. In case they do not take up the stand in the professional leagues, they will still have emotional satisfaction.
Division 1 coaches of the NCCA teams are paid heftily while the players in this division who are deemed as the creme de la creme of the teams do not receive remuneration. Proponents are constantly asking themselves why the top management is enjoying the profits that are not proportional to the accredit efforts of the players. They are convinced that the NCCA board is hypocritical because it sugarcoats its financial procedures with excuses, which it claims to be professional. Their perspective that a student athlete’s image should be used free is grounded and cannot be shaken because the athletes work extra hard to the advantage of NCCA. On the other hand, opponents believe that the NCCA must uphold their amateur status because they are on the other side of the divide as far as professionalism is concerned (Kahn, 2006). According to them, paying student athletes will cause a pandemonium in the frontline of professional leagues because the student athletes are incomparable to professional athletes.
If student players are paid, their hard work in the games will be justified. They toil a lot in exercising to be fit for their roles in the games. It will be a fair deal for both the NCCA and the players because each will have a considerable share of the profits gained from the endorsement of sports merchandise bearing the players’ images (Sack, 2008). In addition, the players will experience satisfaction, which will motivate them even better performances in the leagues, stretching their popularity even further.
Another advantage is that there will be an end to the lawsuits filed by the players pertaining to their remuneration rights. Ed O’Bannon among others has already filed lawsuits because of the NCCA’s inconsideration in the financial strategy, seeing that the players are the reasons for the financial benefits. If a common understanding is reached by the two parties, there would no politics or tension in sports among the U.S universities and sports will strictly be for entertainment purposes as it was meant to be in the first place.
However, some complications would come up with payment of student players by the NCCA. First, there would be inequality or negative competition among the players since not all will earn the same amount of cash. Some of the NCCA coaches argue that only a few student athletes have the exceptionality to make the game a worthy cause on the television networks. Therefore, such identified exceptional players will be accredited large salaries as compared to the rest. This may bring conflict among players with others lacking the motivation to participate well as team members. Furthermore, the idea of capitalism will spread through all the universities and colleges in the U.S forming an inequality stunt. According to opponents, most of the players are in NCCA’s Division 3, which is comprised of games that do not generate revenue.
Another problem that would arise is the grading of payments in different sports. Opponents argue that it would be difficult to decide on how much money different players in different sports games will be paid and still maintain equality. Since a sport is evident in its diversity in terms of gender, deciding on the women’s remuneration will also prove to be a tall order. The goals of the NCCA, which are based on promoting the student’s welfare in terms of both education and sports, will somehow become diluted. This is because student players will be seen to focus more on payment rather than other equally requires measurements.
Briefly, the student players should be paid because it is their right. They deserve to be well compensated because their hard work will finally count when NCCA negotiates with them for a pay. NCCA’s licensing and endorsement of products bearing their images should be a fair deal and not a violation of the player’s rights. The NCCA does not act like an amateur if it continues to make business dealings with their players’ names. In as much as it is a huge task to decide on the payments, the NCCA is believed to have a well knit structure that can develop a logical strategy to suit both worlds. Once every player realizes that remuneration will be based on their efforts and the recognition they b ring to the NCCA, the will put in more effort to ensure more revenue is generated. Athletic scholarships and allowances are good measures but payment will increase motivation.
Bekkering, A. (2010). NCAA basketball championship. New York, NY: Weigl Publishers.
Kahn, L. M. (2006). The economics of college sports: Cartel behavior vs. amateurism. Bonn, Germany: IZA.
Sack, A. L. (2008). Counterfeit amateurs: An athlete’s journey through the sixties to the age of academic capitalism. University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State University Press.
Schneider, R. G. (1998). Perceptions on the payment of college student-athletes.
Yost, M. (2010). Varsity green: A behind the scenes look at culture and corruption in college athletics. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press.