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Should College Athletes Get Paid to Play?

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Nelson Burke

on 2 June 2014

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Transcript of Should College Athletes Get Paid to Play?

Should College Athletes
Get Paid to Play?

History and Background
College sports have been around since the mid 19th century.

Since then, so has been the question over whether or not college athletes should be paid to play.

The first intercollegiate sporting event was a rowing match between Harvard and Yale

Sports like baseball, track and field, and rugby soon followed
Proposal II: Allow Athletes to Take Advantage of Endorsements
Instead of being payed to play, college athletes should simply have the right to sign endorsement deals.

As the governing body of college sports, the NCAA prohibits college athletes to sign endorsement deals.

The association labels college athletes as amateurs whose participation in college sports "should be motivated primarily by education and the physical, mental, and social benefits to be derived."

By doing this, the NCAA prevents athletes from making any money off of their name, a right that any other college student has.

The NCAA claims they are protecting athletes from the exploitation of commercial enterprise.

Ironically, the NCAA is the one doing the exploitation.
Proposal III: Put More Emphasis on Academics
There are several people that believe that the commercialization of college athletics is wrong and athletes are idolized in ways that pose a threat to the true intentions of college.

These people agree with the idea to put more focus on education and not sports.

This would essentially stop commercialized college sports and take money out of the equation.
Proposal III Continued
Over the years Universities have fallen victim to the pressures of competition and the amount of money successful athletic programs bring.

This has caused schools to lose focus on the education standards for college athletes.

Instead schools make mistakes like academic fraud and lowering standards, all to admit academically inadequate talented athletes. For example...
Pros
More emphasis on education provides better opportunities for students after college

This solution would clean up some of the corrupt acts that take place in universities and athletic programs. Athletes will be less tempted to make poor decisions when it comes to making money.

A third positive is the idea that better educated athletes will be better educated citizens and help improve society.
Proposal II Continued
College sports is a multi-billion dollar industry driven by the talent and performance of the athletes.

Despite how much this industry relies on these athletes, they don't see a penny of the revenue.

Instead, the NCAA exploits them and prohibits them from being paid, unless of course if it is through a scholarship.

Colleges sign endorsement deals with companies like NIKE and Under Armor that would normally sign these deals with star athletes.

By allowing college athletes to sign these deals Universities would not be directly paying them for play. Athletes would retain their amateur status because they wouldn't be making money off of game play, they would me making money off of their image, similar to an author selling autographed books.
Pros
Pros
Proposal I: Raise Scholarship
Amounts for Division One Athletes
Athletic Scholarships can be awarded to superb high school athletes looking to compete at the next level and get a better education.

These scholarships are intended to cover the living and educational costs college athletes face.

Evidently, college athletes are being cut short when it comes to these scholarships.

This pushes athletes to violate NCAA rules in order to make ends meet.
By: Nelson Burke
Final Solution: Allow College Athletes to Pursue Endorsements
Allowing college athletes to take advantage of endorsement and publicity rights is the most practical solution to whether or not college athletes should be paid to play.

A person's right to make money off of their own talents and self-image is a fundamental right for all citizens not just college athletes.

By limiting these rights the NCAA is endangering the well-being of college athletes.
History Continued
First pay for play scandal took place in 1929

The Carnegie Foundation released a report titled "American College Athletics"

Out of 112 schools in the report, 81 admitted to paying top recruits in some way

A "Sanity Code" was issued by the NCAA in 1948 stating that athletes could only be paid through scholarships
This action proved to be unsuccessful
Walter Buyers
Buyers was hired as NCAA executive director in 1951.

Immediately after being hired, Buyers faced a scandal involving Kentucky basketball players being paid to play poorly by gamblers.

Buyers convinced the University's dean not to fight the NCAA's proposal to suspend the players for the entire 1952-53 season.

Through this incident, the NCAA gained complete control over college sports.
NCAA and College Sports
In modern day college sports, the NCAA continues to use the same control it gained during the Kentucky scandal in 1951.

With that control the NCAA regulates everything from game play rules to things like academic fraud and unfair financial benefits.

When rule violations take place the NCAA hands out punishments; even if the punishments seem outrageous.

Because of this, the question over whether college athletes should be paid to play has been brought to a national spotlight.
Proposal I Continued
It is common to hear stories of division one athletes being investigated by the NCAA for accepting illegal money or gifts, all because they're stars.

Most people assume that the athletes are always the wrong doers and the ones screwing up.

The truth is they aren't, The NCAA is cutting them short.

Several athletes can defend this argument, for example...
Johnathan Franklin
Johnathan Franklin a UCLA running back Received a "full ride scholarship" worth $28,000 a year that was intended to fully cover the costs of college.

Ironically UCLA estimated that it cost a student $31,500 a year to attend the university
They were cutting Franklin short of $3,500
Arian Foster
In an interview from the documentary "Schooled: The Price of College Sports" Former Tennessee running back, Arian Foster explained the struggles him and his teammates faced.

Foster explains that some players were so desperate for money to buy food and necessities that they resorted to "selling drugs or their championship rings."
Cons
This change in scholarships would alter budgets.
Universities would have to sacrifice money from other improvements in order to pay for these increased scholarships.

The raise in athletic scholarships and not academic scholarships would be argued as unfair benefits and treatment.
By raising athletic scholarships, academic scholarships would have to be raised as well.

By raising athletic scholarships there would be more focus directed towards athletic ability instead of academic ability.
Universities would be shifting their views more towards athletics.
This solution would clean up under the table handouts from sports agents, endorsers, and other common entities trying to pay college athletes.

Raising athletic scholarships would motivate high school athletes to pursue college sports and a college education
More money makes the hard work worth more.

It would eliminate crimes like drug dealing and stealing committed by college athletes.
Athletes would be able to afford necessities and not have those urges.
Cons
Athletes would have access to their own publicity rights and would not have to deal with the NCAA using the athletes' image to promote the NCAA's image.

Athletes would retain their amateur status because they would not be paid directly for play.

Universities would not have to pay athletes directly out of their own pockets.
Universities would lose millions of endorsement deals. This loss of revenue would most likely affect the schools budget.

Athletes would lose focus on the idea of going to college for educations purposes and instead just use college as a stage to promote their image.

College athletes could fall victim to the exploitation of large companies and could risk damaging their image.
- NCAA Headquarters Indianapolis
UNC Case
In 2012 the University of North Carolina came under investigation for an academic fraud scandal.

UNC athletes were required to take "independent study" classes that did not require attendance, only a paper to be submitted at the end of the semester.

By doing this, UNC was able to get around eligibility issues with star recruits.

The professor of these classes was even paid through money and free tickets to games in order to teach the classes.
Cons
By directing focus away from commercialization you would be destroying a milti-million dollar industry and a piece of American culture.

Appreciation for athletic talent and ability would be diminished

College would be made less appealing to high school student athletes. Colleges would be losing potential college students.
Final Solution Continued
There are even instances when the NCAA's treatment of college athletes has been compared to the treatment of indentured servants.

The association uses athletes' physical talents for their own gain and gives them food, a place to live, and an education in return.

This is identical to how an indentured servant receives payment for living and travel expenses in trade for their labor.

Even Walter Buyers admitted, after retirement, that "the rules of the NCAA are wrong and will not withstand the force of law."
Full transcript