Table of Contents
1 The Ethical Issue – Whether to Pay NCAA Football Student-Athletes 3
1.1 The Case For Maintaining the Current System - Not Paying NCAA Football Student-Athletes 4
1.2 The Case For Paying NCAA Football Student-Athletes 6
1.3 Conclusion 11
1.4 References 13
The Ethical Issue – Whether to Pay NCAA Football Student-Athletes
Top college football programs make hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues each year, all without having to pay the people who actually play the game. Is it ethical for colleges to not pay their football stars for playing their hearts out on the field, building popular branding images for themselves and their ...view middle of the document...
[iv] (Exhibit 1) Additionally, starting in 2014-15, the college football postseason will consist of bowl games along with two national semifinal games and a national championship game - all of which recently earned television contracts amounting to approximately $5.5 billion over 12 years.[v] The multibillion-dollar college football industry is booming, and doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Yet college football players are not entitled to traditional forms of compensation for their work since the NCAA classifies Division I football players as amateurs instead of professionals. Therefore, we pose the question of whether college football players, hoping to become part of an elite group of professionals, end up becoming indentured servants to their schools during their college careers without payment, or simply the beneficiaries of a cost-free and potentially premium level of experience and education.
1 The Case For Maintaining the Current System - Not Paying NCAA Football Student-Athletes
The NCAA as a whole generates $6 billion annually, and as mentioned above, athletic conferences and coaches make millions of dollars in the process.[vi] However, there is a misconception that athletic programs in general are always profitable. Only a fraction of the programs are profitable while others operate at a cost to the universities. So the argument of pay arises in reference to student-athletes more specifically within the sports of football and basketball in institutions with high profile, high-income athletic programs. “The argument is that since such institutions receive millions of dollars from the student’s performance, their student-athletes should be paid.”[vii] Yet universities are not sports franchises and hence are required to consider all educational departments and sports equally. It would be problematic to only pay student athletes in revenue-earning sports such as college football, and not for others. Additionally, NCAA football players are indirectly paid through various benefits they receive including a free education. Therefore, the existing system of not paying NCAA college football players should not be changed.
“Collegiate sports are neither careers nor professions. It is the students’ vehicle to a higher education degree.”[viii] NCAA football players are offered scholarships and receive free tuition, room, food and money for books and other expenses. Additionally, some universities offer academic counseling and tutoring. Student athletes also receive free professional coaching, strength and fitness training, and support from athletic trainers and physical therapists, which “exceeds the equivalent of $100,000 per year in value.” [ix] Therefore, in economic terms, the above benefits constitute a form of indirect compensation, while many other students graduate “with the burden of large student loans.”[x]
Of course, the opportunity to receive a college education is worth more...