College athletes should be making money in some way related to the sports that they play. It doesn’t make much sense for them to not see monetary gain from what they are potentially going to be doing for a living. Sports is one of the most popular industries in the entire world, and it is still growing. Because of this, it only makes sense that college athletes should have some of the same financial opportunities as their professional counterparts.
One argument that has been made to justify college athletes not being paid is that they are not professionals and, therefore, should not receive income. This argument does have some logic behind it, but it simply does not hold up when one takes into account the fact that head coaches are making millions of dollars per season.
The increasing amount of money being made in college sports each year is making it more difficult to argue against paying players, according to a Time article by sports writer Sean Gregory. Nick Saban, who is the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide Football team, made $11 million this past season, and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll were both paid over $1 million. How is it okay for players to not get paid at all when coaches are being paid so much money?
Yes, some of these players are getting scholarships and some special privileges, like priority when it comes to registering for courses, but that’s just not enough when they are playing sports, especially ones with physical contact. It’s no secret that highly physical sports and injuries go hand-in-hand, and a player could have a career-ending injury at any moment while playing. The unsafety of the sports alone should be reason enough for players to earn some kind of revenue from going out and competing for their schools.
If the National Collegiate Athletic Association will not to allow college athletes to be paid for playing the sports, then they should at least let them make money by marketing themselves. Players don’t make any money from the selling of merchandise, such as their jerseys. They aren’t allowed to market themselves and earn money as a result. Why is that?
According to a 2011 NCAA Survey, many students average 30 hours of practice a week, while some spend over 40. When you combine that amount of time with the time spent in classes and the time spent doing homework, it’s practically impossible for them to find time to work a part time job to earn some spending money.
This restriction on college athletes is doing more harm than good. I see no real point in hindering the athletes in this kind of way when other college students can do work within their majors and not be penalized. Music majors with scholarships are completely free to be part of and play in school performances while also going out and performing at clubs to make money. The same goes for students studying acting in college and performing in school films while also being allowed to act in films outside the school. I’ve never heard anything about students in these majors being prohibited from promoting themselves, so why are college athletes restricted from doing so?
Allowing athletes to sign endorsement deals with brands like Nike and Adidas would be a huge step forward, and it would benefit both the players and the companies. In the past, major shoe corporations were essentially bribing college athletes and their family members as a way to get them to attend certain colleges. Making it legal for athletes to have endorsement deals with companies would eliminate this problem. As an additional benefit, college athletes would also be more likely to stay in school until they graduate, because they would be earning money and wouldn’t have to worry about dropping out to financially support their families.
What harm could come from giving college athletes a respectable level of freedom and opportunity when it comes to making money from playing sports? Perhaps at one point in time the practice of not letting them do so made sense, but we are now living in an age when there are so many options for marketing oneself, and college athletes have access to none of them. As a fan of college sports and a friend of several college athletes, I feel obligated to support them in any way I can when it comes to changing these policies so that they can start to make income.