College Athletes Should Be Paid Did you know that every year, the coaches of big name universities along with the athletic gear manufacturers, medial moguls, advertisers, concession owners, and university officials are all raking in millions of dollars and guess what the athletes playing these sports are making? Nothing! “Sometimes, it just doesn’t seem fair. Being at the No.1 ranked football school in the country, and I’m struggling to buy groceries,” A quote from Vince Carter, an Oklahoma University football player. The facts speak for themselves, our college athletes are not receiving reasonable treatment, my name is Buka and I’m here today to speak on behalf of these athletes and inform you on the exploitation and mistreatment they are receiving by the N.C.A.A.
The National Collegiate Athletics Association’s “Student-Athlete form” is required to be read and signed by all college athletes for their respected sport. By signing this form the athletes waive their right to receive any form of payment for the use of their name and image. These athletes are students just like you and me; they work hard and devote a lot of time to their classes. On top of that, student athletes are also required to exemplify excellence in the game and expend additional hours at practice and training for their university’s athletics. While their schools and coaches accumulate million dollar salaries and endorsement deals, the student athletes are left with nothing.
Going forward, the men’s football and basketball program is the most distinguishable of college sports, and they generate the most revenue. According to Michael Wilbon, Senior Sports Analyst for ESPN, this past summer the NCAA signed a 14-year, $10.8 Billon deal with CBS and Turner Broadcasting for the television rights of the men’s basketball national championship tournament, also know as “March Madness.” We’re talking $11 Billion for three weekends of television per year (Wilbon, 2011). An additional $7.6 billion is generated from ticket sales, school merchandise sales, clothing sales, video games and other similar licenses. In 2010, the New York Times reported, “The NCAA’s licensing deals are estimated at more than $4 billion” per year” (Zimbalist, 2013).
The contracts of the coaches are even more outlandish. $53.6 million is the combined 2012 salaries of the 15 highest paid basketball coaches (Zimbalist, 2013). John Calipari, basketball coach of the Kentucky Wildcats tops that list as the #1 highest paid coach (Forbes Magazine, 2013). Calipari is paid over $4 million a year from the Kentucky basketball program, which makes about $35-40 million a year (Ney York Times, 2012). Coach Calipari recently signed a two-year contract extension after taking the Wildcats to the Final Four. This deal will keep him in the $4 million salary range throughout 2019. “Not even large corporate CEO’s command this large of a share of the profits” (Van Riper, 2012). Tom Van Riper, a sports writer for Forbes magazine noted that if Steve Ballmer, the CEO at Microsoft, had John Calipari’s deal, Ballmer would make about $1.5 million more than what he makes now.
Not only are student athletes prohibited from receiving payment for playing their sports, they also cannot receive gifts and are not allowed to endorse products (Van Riper, 2012). Universities and colleges refer to athletes as “amateurs.” The enormous amount of money being made off college sports has led some to question whether student-athletes can be considered amateurs any longer, and whether they should, instead, be paid for their efforts (NY Times, 2012). The players themselves are plagued by these thoughts everyday, they don't see any of that revenue made by the NCAA, but yet they still come out and risk having career-ending injuries every time that they step onto the court, field or rink. An example of