It is almost inevitable that college athletes will be getting paid at some time in the near future. The college sports industry generates an annual revenue of $11 billion and much of that is due to the work and labor of the athletes.
One can make the case that students deserve to be compensated for their labor. After all, they are the ones waking up at 5 a.m. for practices, doing all the work and watching all the film – and on top of that, keeping up with school.
Fifty colleges exceed $50 million in revenue and five colleges exceeded $100 million. These revenues are passed along to NCAA executives, athletic directors and coaches. Head coaches in the NCAA Bowl Championship Series earn an average of $2.1 million dollars. In 40 of 50 states the highest paid public employee was a head football or basketball coach.
Granted, coaches are necessary, but they are getting paid handsomely for all the work that players do. Why shouldn’t players get paidfor signing their autograph?
In the end, paying college athletes might help them stay in school longer. Too many times, especially in college basketball, it is one and done. They go to school for one year, get the experience of playing in March Madness and then enter the draft.
With a little incentive they may actually stay in school longer.
I am not the only one who feels this way. Jay Bilas, a college basketball analyst for ESPN, was recently quoted in a Duke Chronicle article written by Jen Chen:
“The problem I am trying to solve is one of fundamental fairness,” Bilas said during a panel discussion. “[NCAA is] running a professional sports organization and I don’t think it’s fair that only one class of people is restricted to their expenses only and nothing more.”
Bilas advocates that student athletes should receive compensation because sports enterprises and universities get benefits from athletes’ efforts.