As just enough to help them get by is

            As the
great Bob Dylan sang “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” College sports have been
altered tremendously due to college athletes over the past years. One cannot
help but see some kind of college sport headline these days. For many decades’
college athletes have been putting time and effort into making the National
Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) billions. The amount of money the NCAA
takes in from college athletes can be is seen through advertisements, media and
sports memorabilia goes right back into the NCAA’s pockets.  Millions of
dollars that these college athletes earn for their college and not a single
dime is given to the players legally. In return for all of their hard work the
athletes are just left with a story to tell
and none of the money they have earned for their school or the NCAA. All these
college athletes are asking for is compensation for their hard work; just
enough to help them get by is all they’re asking for. In return, the athletes
get a scholarship for their college of choice but the amount is miniscule
compared to how much money they make for the school and NCAA. Since the NCAA is
not paying them anything, athletes go pro
as early as they are able to. The Atlantic journalist Taylor Branch, who
wrote “The Shame of College Sports”, argues the point that athletes should be
compensated considerably for what they make for their college and NCAA. On the
other hand, some believe college athletes shouldn’t be compensated at all. A
compromise must be created that will allow colleges and the NCAA to put money
into a fund to pay players’ salaries, this would eliminate the incentive to try
and cheat the system.

 

The NCAA is a non-profit organization
that was founded in 1906 by former president Theodore Roosevelt. The goal of
the organization was to protect young people from the dangerous athletics
practices of the time. When President Roosevelt called a conference because
there was a need to review the rules for football because the injuries and
deaths had continued to rise, he posed the question whether or not football
should be “regulated or had to be abolished at the intercollegiate level” as
seen today, it was regulated and continues to be (Smith 12). Also stated in the
article was “initially, the NCAA was formed to formulate rules that could be
applied to the various intercollegiate sports” (Smith 12) which further shows
that the NCAA was designed for the intercollegiate sports and not specifically
for the sports and the players’ safety while participating in said sport. As
the NCAA grew, more and more rules were established and eventually the first
ever championship was constructed. With more rules came more responsibility on
the members and hence committees were formed. Progressing at a rapid pace, the
NCAA needed a home base of operations which was established in Kansas City,
Missouri, in 1952. With college athletics becoming popular, competitive
divisions were created; I, II, and III which gives athletes a chance to choose
a better school to attend that focuses more so on athleticism. The NCAA exists
to con and mislead the entire sports industry, because to this day the
scholarship programs for the Division I schools surpasses those of Division III
schools exponentially.  The NCAA is an
organization that was put in place for good intention to protect college
athletes and to ensure rules, however as they have grown the NCAA has become a barrier
for improvement in college sports. There needs to be a reconstruction of the
Athletic Association to take a step back and stop having as much control over
the way college sports are handled, just as Smith stated that the intended
initial purpose was to create rules to insure player safety and to create rules
for the NCAA.

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Sporting events have always been an
important part of American culture. Amateurism, defined by Webster Dictionary,
is a person who does something for pleasure and not as a job. This means that
every college athlete is by all technicalities an amateur. Confirmed in on the
NCAA’s website, “amateur competition is a bedrock principle of college
athletics and the NCAA. Maintaining amateurism is crucial of preserving an
academic environment in which acquiring a quality education is the first
priority.” The website continues to list what amateurism requirements do not allow.
Another term that the NCAA uses is student-athlete which defined on their
website is a participant in an organized competitive sport sponsored by the
educational institution in which he or she is enrolled. According to Branch’s
article, the student-athlete is a myth:

the term student-athlete
was deliberately ambiguous. College players were not students at play (which
might understate their athletic obligations), nor were they just athletes in
college (which might imply they were professionals). That they were
high-performance athletes meant they could be forgiven for not meeting the
academic standards of their peers; that they were students meant they did not
have to be compensated, ever, for anything more than the cost of their studies.
Student-athlete became the NCAA’s signature term, repeated constantly in
and out of courtrooms.

This demonstrates just how the NCAA is able to manipulate
their word by having a lax definition of the term which benefits them later
down the road by being able to use the student-athlete defense. The NCAA focuses on student-athletes
and amateurism because all athletes begin as student athletes, no one is a
professional to begin with, and it is classified as amateurism solely by the
school. It is argued by educators and fans the “amateurism is the whole point”
but as soon as college athletes get an offer to play professionally they are
encouraged to jump at the opportunity as soon as it occurs leaving one to
question whether or not amateurism is truly the whole point.

            College athletics
are a big deal, the NCAA makes millions from ticket sales, media, branding,
amongst others. On all NCAA affiliated apparel, one finds big name corporations
using the apparel as a way of advertising for their company. These corporations
pay the NCAA millions of dollars just to have their logos stamped on the
apparel, all the money that is paid for the advertisement doesn’t go to the
players whose names are on the apparel but straight to the NCAA. A big part of
the NCAA’s revenue comes from March Madness, in Branch’s article he states “Last
year, CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting paid $771 million to the NCAA for
television rights to the 2011 men’s basketball tournament alone. That’s
three-quarters of a billion dollars built on the backs of amateurs—on unpaid
labor.” Almost a billion dollars just for media rights, Branch makes a good
point how all that money is “built on the backs of amateurs — on unpaid floor”
and the athletes cannot do anything about it. On top of creating competitive divisions and rules for the
NCAA, President Roosevelt “also noted that the NCAA would serve as secondary
purpose in ensuring no student shall represent a college or university in any
intercollegiate game… who has at any time received…money or any consideration”
(Vanderford 807). This act makes it where no college athlete is able to receive
any payment of any kind. All of these companies and organizations are making
millions and just how much are the athletes making; not a dime, in fact, it is
illegal for them to. In a court case where a college athlete wanted to have the
right for compensation, the NCAA came up with defense after defense and the
court put down their remarks saying that the “NCAA attempted to assure that the restrictions on student athlete
compensation have significantly contributed to the popularity of these sports,
the court found this to be incorrect” (Roessler 943). In all of the
instances where college athletes have tried to get compensation, they have been
denied for all athletes to get it.

            It
is time for the NCAA to change their policies allowing college athletes to get
paid for their time and effort. Branch offers a solution that athletes should
treated as “adults, with rights and reason of their own—and grant them a
meaningful voice in NCAA deliberations.” By allowing the athletes to have a say
there would be no middle ground because of course the athletes want money for
their athleticism. On the other hand, Vanderford agrees that student athletes
should be compensated but a small fraction of what they bring in for the
college. A middle ground needs to be found and having the NCAA put money into a
fund to pay players’ salaries fits the spot. By establishing a fund,
the college athletes would in return for their athleticism they would have spending
money that would help pay for schooling and their education. By having the
money go back into their education it will encourage athletes to not go pro as
soon as the opportunity presents itself and when the athlete finished their
schooling they would get to have the leftover money that they have earned to go

Times are changing and the NCAA needs
to realize that the regulations put forth by President Roosevelt so long ago, need
to be revamped and changed. Athletes will then be allowed to be compensated for
their athleticism because it would help not only the college they attend but
the athletes themselves because it would give motive to stay in college and get
an education instead of going pro and leaving schooling in the dust, also the
athletes would be financially stable when they finished their schooling. With
all the money the athletes are bringing in for their school and the money that
the NCAA is making from media and apparel, the NCAA needs to put forth money
into a fund where it can go towards the athlete’s education. Just as Branch
pointed out that athletes should be compensated considerably whether it is
scholarship or a fund in the end it is time for athletes to get paid. No under
the table deals will need to be made illegally, and at the end of the day both
parties benefit.