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Why Should College Athletes Be Paid?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) claims to be a nonprofit organization. Athletes enter the NCAA to play out their dreams of furthering their high school sports career to the next level. They receive scholarships that cover all or most of their school tuition and other fees but end up wanting more for their dedication. They expect more because they are hardworking athletes. To keep high ranked players from attending other colleges, coaches and other college faculty pay players under the table.

Additionally, it is well-known that the organization pays many of its players to bribe them into attending certain college campuses to play. Besides the fact that paying money out of the nonprofit corporation is obviously against the rules, other extra-curricular activities do not get this type of opportunity, and the money going to these players could be used elsewhere. Even though it is usually not the case, talented student athletes are provided NCAA funds in hopes that it will be given out in scholarships.

Yes, some of the money is rightfully awarded, but another large portion is secretly split and then paid to recruiting prospects. Doing so is a huge risk because less than two percent of college athletes become professionals, which means that cut of money could easily have paid another student’s way into school (Bennett). Other people’s dreams of going to a prestigious college are put on hold and crushed in order to take advantage of these greedy athletes.

Plus, this is an extremely illegal trade because Donald Remy said, “The NCAA, in accordance with courts that have addressed the issue, believes that students athletes are not employees, under the law, and that they should not be treated like employees either by the law of by the schools they attend” (Cooper). College athletes are not professionals that get paid millions of dollars each year, so they should only be able to collect the same aids as other college activities such as band, art, and computer programs.

While the NCAA grants high students their dream of playing a sport in college, there are other important collegiate programs that do not get as much attention or the same benefits as these paid athletes. Athletes are more likely to be treated like royalty compared to a drum major that gets no attention but works just as diligent for his or her position. Everyone knows the hard work that the athletes on television put in to be as great as they are, but no one ever looks up in the stands at the band to think about how many hours and practices they have endured to be able preform spectacularly in front of the vast crowds.

Also, no one thinks about the amount of gifted students that miss out on the opportunity to excel in life through college because they did not get the scholarships they needed to enroll. These are extraordinary students that would be an advantage to the world through technology, medication, or business instead of being a momentary entertainment for sports fans. In a Junior Scholastics article, it states that, “Among NCAA student athletes, 15 percent say they wouldn’t even be in college if they didn’t play a sport.

That experience is made possible by the $2. billion in athletic scholarships NCAA schools award each year” (Nocera). Other students and even faculty should not have to suffer because of the illegal trade of money between school and athletes. Arrogant athletes should be taught an important life lesson that there are more significant missions to accomplish in life besides sports. The only things some of these athletes have going for them is football or basketball or baseball because they come to college without the intention of learning skills off the field or court that could help them progress in the adult world.

NCAA money goes to the wrong people for the wrong reasons and it is used as a waste to the school and the advancement of society. After all, in the end a respectable job at a big corporation is not going to hire anyone because of the number of years they played college sports; however, they will be eager to see a bachelor’s or master’s degree. So, every student that chases their dream with enough passion should have a chance to achieve what they want even if it is not a dream consisting of playing a sport on television in front of the thousands of people watching.

As a result of misusing the nonprofit funds, many schools have made cutbacks in their extra-curricular departments. For example, Fresno State has dropped the men’s indoor and outdoor track team, the cross-country team, the soccer team, and the women’s swim team in order to fund other sports and reach department guidelines. This is a disappointing situation considering that the track team was the first kind of sports team that was introduced to Fresno State long ago. It was one of the bases that set Fresno State’s feet in college sports.

The coach for the men’s track team actually spoke on the matter, saying, “Right now in the sports culture we are in, people favor the entertainment sports over the participation sports” (Suggs). Those students and coaches were stripped of something they love for the amusement of television viewers. All those athletes’ unfairly treated for the sake of a more privileged and favored sport. Though paying these athletes for their hard work, extra time, and dedication may seem like the morally upright decision to make, most of the time the money is not being used properly.

Those athletes could be using their large sum of money to cover any extra school costs or their own personal shopping lists. Sadly, it does not work that way. Most of the time, this is not just a bulky sum given on one occasion. Depending on the situation, some athletes get paid over their entire time at the college institution of their choice. This can total up to be four or more years of misusing NCAA funds. But in reality, when asked to receive that much money no one is going to turn it down. In a closed hearing in Washington D. C. a witness named Sonny Vaccaro was asked why a university should be used as an advertising tool for his industry.

He did not blink and responded quickly saying, “They shouldn’t, sir,” he replied. “You sold your souls, and you’re going to continue selling them. You can be very moral and righteous in asking me that question, sir,” Vaccaro added with irrepressible good cheer, “but there’s not one of you in this room that’s going to turn down any of our money. You’re going to take it. I can only offer it” (Branch). After he stated all this, the room fell silent, because everyone knew what he was saying was the truth.

But even though everyone is willing to do it still does not make it right. For example, a teacher may tell a class full of students that no one is allowed to talk. The whole class could decide to talk, yell, and act up. But just because the whole class did wrong does not make the situation different, so they will all still receive detention for breaking the teacher’s rule. That’s how giving out money to athletes must be looked at. Even though some of society and college faculty can say it’s alright to accept under the table the money because everybody does it, but that single justification is not going to stand under the ruling of a judge.

Misusing money from an organization and publicly claiming to be nonprofit is cheating, plain and simple. Students who work just as hard, if not harder, end up losing a fight they did not know they could easily win if they were aware of just how often these illegal trades take place. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are thrown away every academic year to recruit hundreds of athletes illegally, for only a handful of them to ever go professional. This growing problem can be eliminated by simply raising awareness, and finally holding the guilty party responsible.

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