i Payed to Play? | College Writing: Debate(s) In Higher Education
21. November 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Blog Post 3

Kelly Frank

It is only about 4 more months till some people’s favorite time of the year, March Madness. This time is full of fun, brackets, and lots of college basketball. There are 347   division I basketball teams, with over 4,500 players. While only 68 of them can play in March Madness, every team would love the chance to play for one of the most watched tournaments. March Madness always starts arguments about which team is best and who will win it all, but it also sparks very controversial topics. Many people believe that college athletes should be paid, but I do not agree. College athletes are paid in many different ways, just not a paycheck.

The athletes believe they should be payed to play because they are basically exploited because the television channels make money of them. Samuel DeVoe argues that athletes should be paid, but he continues to show evidence that they get special benefits. Samuel DeVoe talks about some of the benefits that college athletes get: “Anyways, they already have scholarships. Their room and board is paid for, books are paid for and they even receive a monthly stipend.” Yet, they still believe they should be paid on top of all of this. As talked about in our first blog post, many people struggle with paying for college, but a lot of division I athletes go for free. If they are not going for free they have a very discounted experience.

Division III schools cannot give athletic based scholarships to students, but division III is the largest sports division. Student athletes in Division III play the sports because they love them.At Saint Norbert College 97 percent of students have scholarships or other forms of aid. This shows that student athletes most likely have academic scholarships. Inturn, the student athletes in division III are doing it for fun, and they know that they will not get a scholarship or a payment for play.

College teams are just one step down from professional teams. I think if any college athlete had the chance to go professional they would. Playing a sport in college is like a free show case for professional scouts. It is not only division I athletes that get looks; my neighbor plays baseball at a small division III college. His team was very good, and once summer training came around they had scouts from the Minnesota Twins looking at him and some other players.

In Samuel DeVoe article brings up some extraordinary statistics about the television companies that pay for the right to broadcast college sports. “The NCAA signed a contract with CBS/Turner Television that will pay $10.8 billion (yes, billion) from 2011-2024 to broadcast all of March Madness. Furthermore, ESPN is paying the BCS $500 million a year to broadcast games.” These exuberant amounts of money are not used to pay the athletes. This seems very bad, like 10 billion dollar and none goes to the athletes, but this is where their scholarships come from, where the bus fare, and airfare comes from. In Barry Petchesky’s article he explains where the money comes from to run a basketball team: ticket sales, TV/bowl revenue, and donations. It costs a lot to have a sports team.

In an article I read by Barry Petchesky he states: “College sports are big business, but just how big? In the SEC, on average, schools spend 12 times as much per individual athlete as they do per individual student. Not on the athletes, of course, just around them.” The article was titled SEC Schools Spend $163,931 Per Athlete, And Other Ways The NCAA Is A Bonfire For Your Money. The title of the article sums it up perfectly, some college sports teams are basically throwing money into a bonfire. These schools already are paying so much money for the athletes just not to them, so if they were to pay them also it would be even more money towards the athletics.

Finally, everyone forgets when watching these college athletes is they are not just athletes, they are student athletes. Most of them did not go to college just to play a sport, they went for a degree. They knew going into school that they will not be payed to play. They maybe will be drafted because they played very well for their college team, but they are students. The major problem with this is that the colleges prefer them to be athletes over students. The schools will inflate their grade, or give them easier classes so they can stay eligible to play.  In Joe Nocera’s article called Majoring in Eligibility, he tells a story of a young man who was barely educated past seventh grade, but went to college to play football. He failed most of his classes. The story wants us to root for the young man because he was taking care of his kids and his siblings but he could not play football, go to class, and take care of his family. The story brings up one question overall, how did he get into college? The article states he had the perfect tools, the perfect tools for football. His major was interdisciplinary studies. Colleges made up this academic underclass, the only job is just to stay eligible, they might not even learn anything. So why when these athletes go to school just to make the sports teams better should they be paid monetarily, they should be paid with a proper education.

In conclusion, student athletes may not make any money while playing but they are saving money. A large amount of division I players have scholarships to go to school for free, this completely negates the chances for student debt problems. Besides having little to no debt, they also have an increased chance of being drafted to professional teams. The chances of an athlete to go directly from high school  to professional are so miniscule they almost do not exist, but college is their gateway to getting looked at. Lastly, the student athletes need to remember that they are students first, not athletes. They should value their education more than the sport.

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