April 9, 2014
PADM 4226 R51-S14C
Pay Us, Don’t Enslave Us!
The NCAA is the governing body for all college athletics, no matter the division. It is also a nonprofit organization. Everyone knows that athletics account for a large makeup of college students across the country. I watch my fair share of all sports, in particular, football and basketball. Lately, there has been a lot of talk and controversy surrounding student-athletes who receive illegal funds or gifts from boosters and/or recruiters as enticement to join their athletic programs. While this comes as no surprise to anyone, the growing number of incidents has raised the eyebrows of many fans and alums. This also raises the question, “Should student-athletes be paid or given a stipend for participating in athletics?” My intent is to advocate on behalf of the student athlete. I do believe that athletes should be paid a small sum for what they bring to the colleges and universities.
According to Worth (2014), advocacy includes action taken in support of a cause or an idea (p. 367). So why is it that I am advocating on behalf of the athletes? Some people argue that most student-athletes receive scholarships to attend the various institutions. I am sorry to report that according to NCSA Athletic Recruiting, there are more than seven million high school athletes, but there are college roster spots for just two percent of them. Getting to the NCAA Division I level is even tougher. Just one percent of those seven million student-athletes get a full ride to a Division I program (NCSA Athletic Recruiting, 2014). We all know that the recruiting process is very difficult, but getting an athletic scholarships is even more so.
So out of all of the athletes you see, only a minute portion have scholarships. Why am I so adamant about the athletes receiving some form of compensation? Think about all of the money that they bring to the colleges and universities. Again, the two sports that I have to mention are basketball and football. Division I schools have more of an opportunity to receive sponsorships and endorsements due to national coverage on ABC, CBS, ESPN, and NBC. This coverage also translates into millions of dollars for these notable universities. If the coaching staff has any element of notoriety, that brings even more funding to the table. Why can’t college athletes receive some portion of this? The general public believes that since these athletes are on scholarship, they have no need of funding. This could not be further from the truth. Remember that only on percent of those athletes receive a full scholarship, which leaves others to receive partial scholarships. This might only be enough to cover tuition and some books. There may also be a portion that covers housing. If the students are fortunate enough to attend an in-state school, then they have access to certain funds allocated by that state. However, if the student attends an out-of-state school, there are other costs incurred. The price of tuition is almost doubled. This does not leave enough funds for food and day-to-day maintenance,
Consequently, athletes are almost forced to take funds and gifts from boosters and recruiters; or they try to get proceeds from clothing and equipment sales, which is illegal. Basically, the system is designed to enslave the athletes by making them work for less than minimum wage, once the numbers are tallied. The other argument is that the students have the privilege of getting a paid education. Again, only one percent have a full ride. The others are forced to take on student loans and find other means of supporting themselves. Also, one percent of the one percent will have an opportunity to go on to play professionally. Where does that leave the other ninety-nine percent? I will tell you. They are left holding the bag. Some of these student-athletes end up dropping out of school, which is not good for the student or the school.
Worth (2014) states that nonprofits may be found on every side of any issue, and they reflect all shades of an opinion (p. 366). The NCAA cannot take sides one way or the other. As an organization, they serve the athletes. They state “Our diverse membership includes schools with student bodies that range from hundreds of students to tens of thousands. The current three-division structure creates a fair playing field for like-minded institutions and provides student-athletes with a wide spectrum of opportunities to participate in 89 championship events” (NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association, 2014). Well, guess what? I am a true advocate for the students! Worth (2014) states that advocacy is the basic right of every individual and organization in the United States and may be practiced without limit; it is an exercise of free speech protected by the U.S. Constitution (p. 367).
Pay these students something! Make sure they have food to eat and a place to live. Stop treating them like slaves who run up and down a field to make you money, Mr. Large Institution! You have seen the recent investigations of student-athletes being recruited on a less than above-board basis. The University of Memphis fell victim to this many times, and this last time had severe ramifications for the entire basketball program. I am a student, albeit nontraditional, but a student nevertheless, I know the struggle. Give these athletes some true hope as most of them will not progress to the professional level. They will be able to fall back on their education, but make their journey a little easier to bear!
NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association. (2014, April 6). Retrieved April 6, 2014, from http://www.ncaa.org: http://www.ncaa.org/student-athletes/value-college-sports-0
NCSA Athletic Recruiting. (2014, April 4). Retrieved April 4, 2014, from http://www.ncsasports.org/: http://www.ncsasports.org/how-do-you-get-recruited/athletic-recruiting/athletic-scholarship-statistics