i Are College Athletes Amateurs? | COLLEGE WRITING: DEBATE(S) IN HIGHER EDCUATION

Zach Fritz

The NCAA is a huge organization that is widely known across the nation. It produces massive amounts of money each year. Its basketball tournament, for example, “March Madness” brings in more revenue than the Super Bowl. With that being said, this sounds like a very prosperous organization. Though it may be, there is some corruption going on with the key component of this working machine, the players. The players believe that they should be paid. Opposed to the belief of many people, I think that they should be paid too. Collegiate athletes at the division one level deserve to get a salary that can cover food to live at college and a small portion of spending money. The NCAA, being a non-profit organization, is not allowed to pay the players and that is where the corruption lies.

Student athletes at the division one colleges have the highest chance of making it to the professional level. In reality though, the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, talks about how only about 2% of college athletes go pro. That means that the other 98% have to rely on the education that they receive. This is why they are called STUDENT athletes, the word student comes first. Athletics is the hobby for students outside of academics. Now as an athlete myself, I understand that it is hard to be an athlete. Getting up at seven: lifting, school, and practice until late at night then you finally have time for homework. The stress levels of athletes are usually higher than any other student. This may seem like an assumption, but I am a walking example of this reasoning. For example, there was a three week span in high school every year where I would have baseball practice at 5:30 in the morning up until school. After that, I would be at school until 3 which had tennis practice following it until about 5:30 in the afternoon. Then, I would have my second practice of baseball at 6 that went until 8:30. Finally, I would be able to go home and get work done. Now, it seems reasonable to think that this could completely tear a person apart with that much on their plate; however, I believe this built me up as a person. If I was able to endure a schedule like this, I could handle any type of schedule thrown at me. Putting up with hell for three weeks each year made the other 49 weeks seem like a walk in the park. These hard schedules teach a student time management which is an important skill in life.

An issue that could erupt in colleges is that if you are paying college athletes for food coverage, then why couldn’t students going for just academics receive a benefit? People across the nation believe that it is unfair for athletes to receive a financial bonus for food when there are students that struggle with the same issue. It is true that students across the US have food struggles just like athletes do; however, linking back to the reasons before, athletes have more on their plate than students. Athletes also are being pushed to exhaustion both physically through their sport, and mentally in the classroom. The tasks that collegiate athletes are taking on significantly outweigh those of students. They are basically taking on two jobs, giving them a huge reason to receive a financial bonus for their extra work.

Lastly, the NCAA is a multi-billion dollar corporation, multi-BILLION dollars. However, the NCAA is a non-profit organization so they cannot spend the money they make with the players. The money received goes to making massive stadiums, which shows why the top 10 stadiums in the nation are college football stadiums; state of the art facilities, Alabama has athletic facilities that are more expensive than most professional ones; and coaches’ pockets, from endorsements, salary, and other means. With the rules in place right now, players are not allowed to receive any type of benefit, no matter how small. Now, many believe this is fair because student athletes are not professionals, they are still amateurs going to school hoping to earn an education. They have no need to be paid. This is a good argument, but the players are the biggest component in a multi-billion dollar organization. With players being the reason for the NCAA’s success, they deserve at least a small portion from them, but players cannot receive a single penny or any benefit since they are listed as an amateur athlete. If a coach were to offer a player a sandwich, that could lead to a suspension because the NCAA would consider that a way of treating athletes different because they are more than just students. As of right now, collegiate athletes are basically slaves in the corrupt system of the NCAA. This organization would not be able to run without the presence of the athletes so that is why they should receive a portion of the money that they are essentially making.

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