Debate Club

A Fair Day's Pay for a Fair Day's Work

By Ramogi Huma SHARE

The NCAA argues that college athletes are paid with a free education. The reality is that players' opportunities are not free, and half of the revenue-producing athletes don't graduate. College athletes spend 40 hours per week of labor in their sport alone (according to an NCAA study), generate billions of dollars per year, and can lose their scholarship if they're injured.

A joint study between the National College Players Association and Drexel University shows that the NCAA will strip football and men's basketball players of $6 billion of their fair market value between 2011-2015. In contrast, the NCAA admits that its scholarship limit leaves "full" scholarship athletes with $3,000 to $5,000 in out-of-pocket-expenses each year.

Meanwhile, recent television deals pay the NCAA and its colleges over $1 billion per year in brand new revenue. Most would expect that this tax-free revenue would be spent primarily on their educational missions, but historical spending patterns show it will be spent exclusively on mega-stadiums and salary increases for coaches and administrators.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the economy.]

Colleges should fully support their players' education by increasing full scholarships equal to the cost of attendance. It would cost an affordable $95 million per year to increase scholarships for revenue athletes and pay matching funds to female athletes for Title IX compliance. They should also direct a percentage of new TV revenues into a trust fund where former FBS football players and Division I men's basketball players who abide by NCAA rules would receive an equal portion upon graduation, or to complete an undergraduate degree. Furthermore, all athletes should be allowed to earn money from commercial endorsements (like their schools), which could be put in the trust fund. These reforms would increase graduation rates and decrease violations, which should be prioritized.

The NCAA claims that increasing compensation for revenue athletes would force colleges to eliminate nonrevenue sports. However, robust participation in NCAA Division II non-revenue sports must be inconvenient for those that make this argument. Over 300 Division II colleges manage just fine without reliance on millions of dollars from football and men's basketball programs. Similar to Division III, NAIA, and high school sports, Division II programs field teams because they value sports participation, not because they wish to pay multimillion-dollar salaries and build luxury boxes with massive revenue.

At the end of the day, college athletes are just like all other hard working Americans who should receive a fair day's pay for a fair day's work.

Ramogi Huma

About Ramogi Huma Founder of the National College Players Association

Tags
sports
NCAA
college athletics
basketball

Other Arguments

#1
640 Pts
Fans Must Understand That College Sports Is Big Business

Yes – Fans Must Understand That College Sports Is Big Business

Brian Frederick Board Member of Sports Fans Coalition

#2
448 Pts
NCAA Amateurism Is an Illusion

Yes – NCAA Amateurism Is an Illusion

Warren Zola Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs at Boston College

#4
392 Pts
Without Athletes, The Big Money in College Sports Disappears

Yes – Without Athletes, The Big Money in College Sports Disappears

Bobby Rush Democratic Representative from Illinois

#5
-111 Pts
Real Scholarships Need to Make a Comeback

No, but – Real Scholarships Need to Make a Comeback

Allen Sack Professor in the College of Business at the University of New Haven

#6
-154 Pts
College Athletes Are Already Paid With Their Education

No, But – College Athletes Are Already Paid With Their Education

Richard Burton Professor of Sport Management at Syracuse University

#7
-291 Pts
The Cost of Paying Athletes Would Be Far Too High

No, but – The Cost of Paying Athletes Would Be Far Too High

Andrew Zimbalist Professor of Economics at Smith College

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