Should the NCAA Pay Players?

“Billions and billions made”; that could easily be the slogan underneath the NCAA sign in Indianapolis. Because they’re often said to have a mint they can print money from. Overwhelmingly the thing that infuriates people more than anything when it comes to college athletics governing body is the hypocrisy that comes about when talking about money. The NCAA would argue that the scholarship they’re being given is payment, the player who’s jersey is being sold at $90 a pop in the team store raises a crooked eye brow. You can’t dismiss the value of a scholarship outright, especially when nearly 40 million Americans, or 13% of America is still working for the university that gave them that all important slip of paper. So there is value, but there’s also an overwhelming value these student athletes provide to their university. In addition to the scholarship there are quite a few other advantages these athletes receive. Among them is health care, dental care, food, apparel and usually special “student” perks such as tutors, educational centers so on and so forth. These cost money. But again, BILLIONS AND BILLIONS. That’s what these Universities and the NCAA are making off of these kids, the return on this investment seems obvious.

What the student isn’t given money for is “leisure” money.  No money for dates, movies, video games, partying (and before you look down on partying, remember these are college kids). What also isn’t mentioned nearly enough is the very real scenario many of these kids face coming from a situation of poverty.  Not to mention the nefarious people that surround a lot of these programs and prey on these kids that they know haven’t had the easiest lives. College’s hands are tied, because paying them or giving them any special consideration that isn’t sanctioned by the NCAA is ignored. Usually the situation has to be very unusual for the NCAA to give the school options to help.  I can feel the fury building in you as you yell at the computer screen “OH COME ON COLLEGES CAN’T DO ANYTHING?” Sure they could lean on the NCAA to give them the ability to pay a stipend for athletes in the two largest money makers in college sports football and men’s basketball.

So what’s stopping them from putting pressure on the NCAA? What’s keeping the schools from demanding this be more fair? Money. It’s money. But it’s not as simple as it seems, see the schools have an issue and it’s an issue of inequality, all in the name of equality. Title 9 is one of the most confusing example of overreach by our Government I can think of, in addition it’s a very real problem when discussing the stipend or pay for athletes. In pro athletics if a sport doesn’t make money, it goes away. That’s capitalism. That’s why pro athletes of the popular sports carry such weight when getting money. In college sports the equality given to many sports both male and female that don’t make money suck up many of the revenues made by these profit centers. Now don’t cry the NCAA any tears, they’re still raking in the money, as are coaches and administrators. But often at the end of the year a school’s athletic department could find itself in the red, even in spite of having a successful year. Can you fathom a situation where the team that won the Rose bowl would basically break even? It’s happened. And that’s the team that won the Rose Bowl, imagine a school like let’s say Virginia. Go to a mid-range bowl and exit in the first round of the NCAA in basketball, it’s a very real possibility that they will end up in the red.

It’s the NCAA and the schools contention that Title IX would be problematic. It would cause the schools or the NCAA to pay a stipend to all of the student athletes. If that’s true you could recognize the issues that could cause.  The NCAA has found a way to unapologetically make billions off of these student athletes; it’s full of very bright and innovative men and women. Something tells me if they really wanted to figure out a way to make this happen for the player’s likenesses they’ve profited off of and continue to profit off of, they could. And if they don’t more and more lawsuits will be filed and these student athletes will eventually defeat the big bad NCAA and be given the right to use their likeness for profit however they see fit.