Tuesday, October 11, 2011

NCAA = No Cash Allowed for Athletes?

Is it time to start paying student-athletes? Yes and No

The National College Athletic Association is a large group of individuals who over see 1200+ schools across the United States. The responsibility of this organization is to regulate scheduling, funding, and ensure an equal level of competitiveness between teams. All 1200 schools are organized into 3 sub divisions mainly known as Division I, Division II, Division III. Divisions I, and II are allowed to give full and partial scholarships to athletes who compete on these levels. With these scholarships, athletes are able to omit the costs of tuition, dining, housing and books, a luxury that the average non-athletic student does not have. However, an athletic scholarship comes with a different more scrutinized territory than non-scholarship students. Student athletes on scholarship have certain rules and guidelines to follow known as permissible and impermissible benefits. The NCAA has been known for their inflexibility regarding these rules relating to what athletes can or can’t recieve. Now more than ever there has been pressure from all sides to let athletes receive money. The term “slaves” has been loosely thrown around when describing the labor the athletes do compared to the multi-billion dollar industry universities as well as the NCAA has created marketing these athletes. The multibillion-dollar question facing the sports world is, should student-athletes be paid? To me its yes and no.

According to Collegeboard.com the cost of attendance to the University of Florida is about 27,934 taking into account housing, dining, etc. Which means over the course of 4 years at UF a student athlete is avoiding $111,736 in possible debt. Which means that an average scholarship player is worth over 100,000 dollars, much more than an average academic student. Critics who say that athletes cannot make money while universities are cashing in on them tend to forget that the school is paying for a degree for that athlete. There are about 60 players on full scholarship at a large school like Florida, and means the school is paying about 6.7 million dollars for these athletes to get degrees. Debt is a huge problem in the United States right now especially for college students who have just graduated and eliminating the cost of college debt is something that the detractors have overlooked when criticizing the NCAA for their strict benefits rules.

While I support one aspect of the NCAA’s rules I strongly reject another. Even though athletes do get the luxury of free things from schools a majority of student athletes live well below the poverty line and cannot afford to buy things themselves, which is where boosters and street agents come in. Boosters and street agents are notorious around the college athletics scene for being the ones who give athletes all of these improper benefits in return for possibly an autograph, memorabilia, or just simply a friendship. Boosters often give athletes things they could not buy themselves, such as clothes or a simple meal out to dinner. One of the most recent booster athlete relationships is the one involving Nevin Shapiro and the University of Miami Football team. Shapiro a booster for the Hurricanes says that he gave thousands of dollars worth of things to over 70 Miami football players ranging from cars to even an abortion. The NCAA is still investigating this matter but this is why I see no problem with Shapiro’s benefits. First and most importantly of all it is his money he can do whatever he wants to do with it. The fact that it is not coming from the funds of the University should make it okay and should not be looked down upon and punished. If someone wants to throw them a party and pay for their drinks and whatnot go ahead. Same thing with autographs for cash, if Terrelle Pryor makes money for signing a couple jerseys why not let him have it? Ohio State makes money selling #2 jerseys anyway so why not let him bank on his success. Athletes should be able to make money banking on their successes, just like any other student would.

The NCAA has the wrong idea in their head when they think of impermissible benefits. They see corruption in college football and making these rules will create a level playing field. However, in the eyes of athletes, boosters, and everyone else they just see them as tedious. Student athletes should be able to market themselves however they want to in order to make money from people who want their services. Autograph signings, appearances, or just booster payments should be allowed to student athletes. They should be able to receive gifts from outside sources but the school itself should not actually pay them. The NCAA has integrity to protect and should not give into the idea of actually paying student athletes, a solution like that can only create more problems. The NCAA rules and regulations are outdated and certainly need to be changed for this time and era. We can only hope in time that this multibillion-dollar question can be answered with a sensible solution. My answer to the question is simple: Pay the players? No. Let the players take money? Yes.

Ray Calara

PS: Be sure to check out a new facebook page for sports fans and sports bloggers! Sports Blog Community on Facebook

No comments:

Post a Comment