College students should be remunerated for their athletic prowess
College students should be remunerated for their athletic prowess
Athletics in College can be one of the most fulfilling extra-curricular activities a student can participate. Athletics helps build a sense of comradery, improve students’ health and enables them to develop holistic thinking (Jones and Harris 12). It is thus a sad and unjust affair when these college athletes, having poured their hearts and soul into their respective competitions, do not receive remuneration from their respective institutions. This is highly detrimental to the athletic progress of such students. This may manifest in that it may discourage them said students from pursuing a career out of athletics. Given that, most of the students who engage in athletics in college are highly talented not walking the path of a professional athlete may prove a waste of their talent and furthermore, may deter them from their calling. Students should thus be offered remuneration for their athletic prowess in college.
College students should be remunerated for their athletic prowess.
History and scope of the student competitive industry.
In the United States, NCAA athletic games have become increasingly popular over the years. In popularity, 12% of the population name college athletics as their favorite. IBroadcasting networks such as CBS and Tuner Broadcasting make billions off the games annually. This season is appropriately named March Madness. During this period, college athletic events are at their peak. Television advert rates skyrocket and revenues during this period rise. This money can be distributed to cover the expense that would arise from the need to pay the student-athletes. Currently, due to this ever-rising demand, there have been requests for expansion of the athletic events. Highest on this list is the football playoffs, where there are calls to expand to eight or sixteen teams. The market for college sports is large (Sack and Staurowsky 267)
Legal parameters surrounding the situation.
From a legal perspective, this situation is in existence mainly due to the fact that, the student athletes are categorized as students and not employees in the eyes of the law. Due to this fact, they cannot be protected by labor laws and, as a result, cannot form unions to represent them. The NCAA regards the students as first and foremost students rather than employees. This results in freedom of the NCAA and the university athletic departments to essentially dictate the rules regarding remuneration. This would be an impossibility if student-athletes were classified as employees. Due to the student-athletes being minors; the NCAA has nearly autonomous power over their match settings.
O’Bannon v. NCAA class-action suit.
Recently, there was an antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA. Current and former student-athletes were joint in confronting the organization from barring player compensation for the use of their images commercially. Ed O’Bannon took the stand against the NCAA. The class-action lawsuit called the O’Bannon v. NCAA was aimed at overruling the NCAA’s ban on the remuneration of student-athletes. On August 8, a federal judge in Oakland ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on the case. His ruling was that major sports schools, by barring the remuneration of student-athletes, have operated illegally by not allowing them to license their names and images.
Argument is contrary to the thesis statement.
The most significant reason towards why student-athletes are not paid is that they are technically learners and not employees. The labor laws do not cover their category and as such, they are to be treated as students. The NCAA also argues that the money obtained from student-athletics is not sufficient or even significant enough to be able to pay all the student-athletes. A case can be made that if the student-athletes are remunerated, it will deter them from their primary objective in college, which is to acquire knowledge (Sack and Staurowsky 116). It can be argued that most will lose educational focus, which will in turn be detrimental to the core purpose of the higher learning institutions. In addition, it can be cited that, the implementation of pay for student-athletes would result in the separation of the college education system and the athletic department.
The argument for the thesis statement.
The billions being made by corporations and broadcasting networks by commercializing the student athletics sector, however, never reaches the pockets of the actual athletes. This has raised serious questions as to whether the athletes themselves should be remunerated to that effect. Considering these athletes run the risk of injury when they step on the field or track, they should be paid for taking such risks. Some journalists have already taken to addressing this issue in their respective media outlets. The New York Times’ Joe Nocera has been beating the drum to reform the NCAA, and he is certainly not alone (Smith 124).
Amateurs, as the college students are referred to, cannot be paid unlike with professional athletes. This is despite the rigorous training schedules they undergo, very similar to those followed by their professional counterparts. This implies a double standard in the industry with college students being handed the short end of the stick. More often than not, the trainers and coaches that manage pro-athletics have at one time been in charge of college athletics. This clearly shows the amount of potential that college athletes possess in the athletics industry.
One claim by the NCAA is that the institutionalization of student-athlete pay structure will upset the balance created for the proxy pay of the coaches. However, it has been noted in numerous publications that this is not the case. These publications such as the one by Maxwell Strachan on the Huffington post have backing from economists who have analyzed the capital system of college athletics and determined that the contrary is indeed possible. “It’s pretty clear that they would be able to,” said David Berri, a professor of economics at Southern Utah University, (Jones and Harris 114).
According to the article in Uchicago News by Wen Huang, ‘Economists recommend paying college athletes’ (Sack and Staurowsky 214). The coaches and athletic departments of the colleges receive inappropriately large salaries. This money can be distributed effectively in order to benefit all parties involved, particularly the student athletes. The effect of enabling remuneration for the student athletes would also be beneficial to the larger community (Clotfelter 201). Since some of these students come from low-income families, the introduction of considerable pay in return for their performance on the field and the track would enable them to support the same. Their economic stance, as a result, would positively be affected.
The age requirements imposed by professional athletic institutions like the NBA results to a large number of talented students who are governed by the NCAA. With this in place, they hold almost absolute control over this particular labor market. The student-athletes, due to the increased television demand and consequent expansion of the industry, result in certain stresses on the players. Frequently having to play games in far off venues, which require travel, playing on weeknights in the academic year, having to practice harder and longer. These are comparable to those of a professional athlete. Student-athletes are known to put in just as much work and effort into their practice sessions as do professional athletes.
Possible remedies for the situation.
For this situation to be curbed completely, legislation needs to be introduced so that the student-athlete is recognized by the labor laws. This would mean they be entitled to competitive compensation, medical coverage and protected by the labor laws. To pay the players would simply require a reallocation of resources; the economists said (Smith 156). This is the best path to take and will ensure the situation is remedied. The NCAA should be regulated by general labor laws that apply to employees everywhere. This will ensure that the student-athletes are adequately paid for their efforts on or off the tracks.
Evidence of change: North Dakota State University prerogative.
Schools such as North Dakota State University are becoming torchbearers on pay for their student athletes. This is a step towards the right direction. Universities should embrace this and employ it to their students who give them they are all on the pitch and the track. I hope that this will become a reality in the near future. It seems unlikely that the landscape of major commercialized intercollegiate athletics 10years from now will resemble today’s incarnation, or anything was seen in the last century (Jones and Harris 213).
Clotfelter, Charles T. Big-Time Sports in American Universities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Print.
Jones, Susan R., and Brandonn S. Harris. ‘The Uses Of Intercollegiate Athletics: Opportunities and Challenges for the University, and: Student Athletes and Athletics.’ Journal of College Student Development 52.2 (2011): 246-248. Web.
Sack, Allen L, and Ellen J Staurowsky. College Athletes for Hire. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1998. Print.
Sanderson, Allen R., and John J. Siegfried. ‘The Case for Paying College Athletes.’ Journal of Economic Perspectives 29.1 (2015): 115-138. Web.
Smith, Ronald A. Pay for Play. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2011. Print.