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The NCAA profits from college athletes, they should pay them too

Daniel Serrano

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I think it’s about time to pay NCAA athletes.

The often-recited counterpoint says that most colleges, nearly all, don’t make money off their athletic programs. In 2010, only 12 Division I Football Bowl Subdivision schools broke even or made a profit.

Revenue from high earning sports – like men’s basketball and football – is used to fund other unprofitable sports. Therefore, paying athletes would require the school to dip into its funds.

The question then becomes, who gets paid and how much?

Is it fair to pay players of popular sports the same as those in programs that couldn’t even survive on their own? Its gets murky.
Colleges shouldn’t pay their players, because it’s very rare that the school will make money off its athletes. The NCAA, which profits from television contracts and jersey sales, is another story.

NCAA President Mark Emmert made $1.6 million last year. The NCAA in total made nearly $800 million. Reading through the NCAA’s website, it sounds very philanthropic. It boasts about large sums of money given back to students in scholarships and funding put towards bowl games and March Madness.

The NCAA’s charitable claims are nothing more than business investments in disguise. If money wasn’t put into bowl games, there would be no nationally televised events drawing millions of viewers and hence no airtime to sell to advertisers. If scholarships weren’t given, many athletes that the NCAA profits from couldn’t even play. The NCAA profits because of the money it puts into the system.

It is true that not all athletes receiving scholarships will earn money back for the NCAA. Though it is odd that Division III schools in any sport are not allowed to give scholarships to students. This leads most athletic talent to Division I and II, where games are then televised and become a major revenue source.

So, I don’t believe the scholarships are enough. I don’t think because the NCAA funds college events – events that it profits from – that it should be exempt from paying athletes. That is, the NCAA’s business and college athletes should be its employees.

There shouldn’t be a flat rate. Players shouldn’t be paid per game or per season; that is what being a professional athlete is for.

Why is it so unreasonable to write a contract that gives players a percentage of advertisement revenue made off of televised games?

People are not tuning in to watch the NCAA; they’re watching the athletes.

It is the athlete’s hard work alone that pushes jerseys off the shelves, yet they don’t see a penny from it.

The NCAA system is ripe with injustices to the athletes that put their bodies on the line day after day. It’s not right, and it won’t be until the NCAA starts signing paychecks to its most important employee – the unpaid college athlete.

Daniel Serrano is a senior double major in English and journalism and a contributing writer for the Daily 49er.

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