To Be Paid or To Not Be Paid, That Is The Question

After watching the following Daily Show clip, I was reminded of the issues of college athletics.

Daily Show vs NCAA

The most controversial issue with college athletics is centered upon compensation of the student athlete.

Before discussing the arguments of either side, we must delve into the finances of the sporting world and more specifically, of college sports. In 2012 The University of Texas at Austin made $150,295,932; Ohio State University made $131,815,819; and Alabama made $123,910,432 in revenue from all sports. The 2,068 colleges and universities in this particular survey reported that their data indicates that they also spent over $12 billion in expenses to generate that $12.6 billion in revenue.

This number is astronomical, especially when considering that the reason for the existence of such schools is to provide education, not make a profit. Additionally, this is amplified by the fact that students do not get compensated monetarily. While they are being given an education, one has to wonder what quality that education is.

When considering that athletes are able to leave after two years for the NFL, one for the NBA, and whenever for the MLB, the quality of education they receive is insignificant. While I can only provide an anecdotal story, the amount of years required in college for student athletes is not the only obstacle for a full college education.

According to my source, a student athlete, he got into both Dartmouth and University of North Carolina. While he was obviously smart, he also wanted a chance to go to the NFL and obviously UNC was the better choice. His chance of getting into the NFL was very remote, but he figured the drop off in education would not be large and this is his only opportunity to get into the NFL. Upon attending UNC he had to sign a contract which prevented him from attending classes that were scheduled later than 1pm. Another provision was that he could not turn in a paper that was written by himself. In his place, he would turn in a paper that is written by his own personal tutor.

This tutor was not as intelligent as he was, as the papers that he would continually turn in, written by his tutor, were consistently getting Bs. One day he began to realize that his dreams would most likely not come to fruition and to test himself, he decided to write his own paper. The professor assumed was plagiarized as it far exceeded the level of writing of “his” previous works. In turn the professor reported it to the university and he was brought up on charges of plagiarism. After the hearings, he was found guilty and was banned from competing. Being his senior year, he also missed out on years of education which hurt him in the long term.

Is this common practice? Is this an extreme example? Do academic institutions view student athletes as money bags and not minds to develop and augment?

All of these questions may reveal answers that are extremely disturbing. In regards to compensation, I think that the athletes should receive some degree. Even attending a small division III school I can see the amount of time and effort that college athletes put into their work. It is a full time job as evident by the amount of traveling, formal practices,  voluntary work outs, games/meets, and gym/lifting sessions. Thus, whether it is personal tutors (NOT PEOPLE WHO DO YOUR WORK), stipend (amount small or large), or greater amount of money spent on scholarships from revenue earned by sports and the athletes.

Whatever the case may be, athletes must remember they are students first and athletes second. Additionally, SCHOOLS must remember that students are not walking dollar bills, rather they are young minds to be molded. That while they may be incredibly physically talented, the purpose for attending school is togrow as an individual and hone skills that will be more beneficial to themselves and to society in the long term than their athletic prowess. Through the promotion of sports over education, we are permitting and praising our own decline.


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