Why D1 Athletes Should Be Paid

Trying to Get That Paper According to the NCAA, student-athletes are students first and athletes second. However over the last decade there have been many questions raised about what the actual definition of what a student-athlete really is. This is because of the millions of dollars generated by institutions that broadcasting and promoting these “student-first” athletes. The main question that arises from this is should the NCAA and or institutions/ conferences be paying athletes for their services?
By looking at the billions of dollars a year that the business of college sports generates just in television and radio time alone, indicates that student athletes should be paid. If these schools and the NCAA are making billions of dollars from college sports, then why shouldn’t the athletes get paid for doing what they do? After doing some research over a year ago and taking another look at this issue now, the question about paying college athletes has stayed the same.
The debate whether to pay college athletes or not arose in the 1980s after Southern Methodist University was caught paying football players for their services. Upon discovery of these infractions, SMU was administered the “death penalty”, including loss of scholarships and no participation in bowl games for five years. The controversy surrounding paying college athletes seems to have risen from this unfortunate circumstance and has been cultivated into a huge social topic today.


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Following the SMU scandal in the late 1980s the NCAA rewrote their guidebook that describes an athlete’s role in an academic institution. According to the NCAA, “Student-athletes are students first and athletes second. They are not university employees who are paid for their labor” (NCAA. com). Looking at the arguments made by the NCAA, they make a valid point in showing how athletes are “compensated” for their participation in sports. According to the NCAA, “Many [athletes] receive athletics grants-in-aid that can be worth more than $100,000 (NCAA. om). There are many people who would agree with the NCAA in saying that the scholarships given to the student-athletes is enough “compensation” for the student-athletes to cover their costs of attending school. There are many other topics that all have a role in deciding whether or not to pay college athletes; mainly television, memorabilia sales, and individual endorsement deals. The question itself hasn’t changed over the years; it’s the financial situation that college institutions and athletes now are exposed to that has changed.
All seemed fine and well until, starting in the early 2000’s, large Division 1 sports conferences signed deals with large television networks, generating millions of dollars in revenue for the institutions who were a part of the conference. So the question arose again, should we pay college athletes? According to research done by the National College Players Association, “If allowed access to the fair market like the pros, the average FBS football and basketball player would be worth approximately $121,048 and $265,027 respectively (not counting individual commercial endorsement deals)” (NCPANOW. rg). People today are still opposed to paying college athletes, but the case for actually paying them grows stronger year after year. According to ESPN columnist Michael Wilbon, college football and basketball generate over 11 billion dollars in television revenue. He argues, “why not take 1. 3 billion dollars off the top and, invest it, and make it available for stipends to college athletes? ” (Wilbon). Another person in favor of paying college athletes is former Penn State basketball player Stephen Danley.
In his interview with National Review reporter, Duncan Currie, he says that, “in certain programs players are even allowed to take enough credits to graduate in four years. If they [the colleges] want “student-athletes” then they should at least give them the financial means to return for an extra year to complete a degree after their playing days are over” (Currie). These two arguments not only show that there is in fact funding to pay these athletes, but that scholarships don’t cover the actual amount of time it takes for a student to finish his/ her degree.
So why not help them out financially and allow them to finish? Looking at the large amounts of money going to conferences and universities due to the profits of college sports, it’s easy to see where the debate about paying college athletes comes from. This isn’t a discussion of moral issue or ethical debate; rather, this is simply an issue of looking at the numbers generated and whether or not to pay these athletes for benefiting their schools in popularity and financial gains. So after looking at everything that encompasses college sports, the debate continues; should college athletes be paid?

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