For decades now one simple question has been asked; should college athletes be compensated? Numerous responses from various sports figures, politicians, and financial experts have poured in non-stop over the years, making this one of the greatest debated questions of the modern era. Without a doubt the golden age of NCAA athletics, particularly in the football and basketball realms. The physical talent that we see triumphs any other generation to come before. Television ratings and media dollars have never been higher, and coaches around the nation are practically celebrities with some making upwards of $8 million dollars a year. In this article we will look at several ideas which form the basis of an argument for both sides of the table. We are NOT here today to solve the problem or defiantly answer the question above. Yet we ARE here to spark a conversation and to rightfully analyze a century old association and the decisions they make.
Michael Dell and his creation of the multi-billion company, Dell Computers is one of the greatest business stories that America has ever heard. In fact you may be reading this on a Dell computer right now. Dell in college was making, at his peak, $50,000 to $80,000 dollars a month by taking old computers and “souping them up” with more capabilities. This being the case, why can’t a player such as Donald De La Haye make money off of a self made YouTube channel? Why can’t college athletes accept endorsement deals? Such scrutiny by the NCAA has made it obvious to see that athletes are the only college students who cannot profit from their talents. Musicians, actors, and entrepreneurs can make significant money while in school. Yet athletes are bound by NCAA rules that prohibit them from being paid or receiving endorsement deals. This leads us to our first issue of immorality. Athletes not being paid is cruel, it is unfair, and it is against everything that America stands for and was built upon.
Now naturally the NCAA will deny all such claims of immorality. The NCAA says that they are protecting the college athlete commerically and equally allowing schools to offer full ride scholarships to athletes on a multi year basis. How can this be true though when the NCAA will use those same athletes as billboards for apparel deals, to sell products, and most importantly land those multi-million dollar network deals. “But the athletes get a scholarship, the athletes get free apparel, the athletes get travel expenses”. No. The athletes are getting exploited. You cannot use a person to make money while at the same time limiting their access to make money, that is clear exploitation. Now I will ask this though; are all athletes being exploited? The answer to that, in my opinion, is also no. You cannot tell me that a third-string running back for an Air Raid offense would garnish the same type of attention in a competitive market that the national high school player of the year would that is going to one of the nations top schools.
Our next and final issue is going to cover fairness. Now not the aforementioned fairness concerning the NCAA towards college athletes making money and/or accepting endorsement deals. Instead we shift our focus to the idea that paying athletes would give schools around the nation unfair advantages over one another. Paying athletes would not give the most powerful schools with the strongest fan bases and biggest budgets more talent. Would basketball programs such as Duke and Kentucky be able to pay the most for the top recruits? Of course! But this competition already occurs without large paychecks to students. In fact, paying players could benefit mid-major schools. If big-time programs spent large sums on the most highly coveted players, their payrolls would be more depleted than those of mid-majors. Duke or Kentucky could offer their most prized recruits money that couldn’t be turned down, but their third or fourth choices might be able to find more compensation from a Wichita State or Butler.
All in all TDF family, there is no perfect answer to this monstrosity of a question. There is no perfect way to make all collegiate sports programs happy by creating a payment system for players. And there is certainly not a perfect method as to which players should be paid. I know one aspect of this argument to be true though, if we as fans just sit back and continue to say “I love it the way it is” then we are neglecting the athletes that we love to watch. We cannot continue to let these young men and women be exploited for the gain of NCAA businessman and college coaches. The NCAA will continue to just make a millions if nothing is done, would love to hear some discussion on this topic!