Sinclair: Student athletes deserve payment

Isaac Sinclair

College athletes, who all tirelessly study, practice, work out and perform for their universities should see some of the profits made from their hard work.

These student athletes can put in between 30 to 40 hours a week of practice, which nearly monopolizes their time and energy. This large time drain leaves little time for focusing on academics and any other activities they would want to be a part of. Practices and workouts are often grueling and intense. They can make it difficult for student athletes to be prepared for class or even be attentive during class.

Scholarships are one of the biggest reasons student athletes aren’t being paid. It seems like a fair trade, right? The university pays for your tuition, housing and amenities, and all you have to do is play a little ball. I will concede, scholarships are great, but not all student athletes have full-ride scholarships. And even those who do aren’t guaranteed that injury or other circumstances won’t take that scholarship away. Paying student athletes would guarantee they have the money to pay for college if something were to happen and fairly compensate them for their time commitment.

Athletes, through college sports, have the chance to build up their draft stock and enter professional leagues like the NBA and NFL. Many argue that we shouldn’t pay them now because they’ll be making millions in a few years. The problem with this thinking is that not everyone who plays in college will be able to play professionally. Just because you play basketball in college does not guarantee you will make it into the NBA. They should be paid for what they’re doing for their university right now, not what they might do for an organization later on.

It also teaches them financial responsibility, something they may not otherwise have. This could help athletes who do make it to the professionals better manage their finances. It gives them practice and pride in handling their money. Money that they put hours on top of hours of practice in, and incredible performances to earn.

Paying student athletes is what we should be doing, but is it financially possible? The short answer is yes. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, NCAA, made just under $1 billion dollars in 2015. On top of that, in 2010 the NCAA reached “a 14-year, nearly $11 billion agreement with CBS and Turner Sports.” There is plenty of money to go around, but the NCAA refuses to give the student athletes their fair share. The cherry on the top of this cake of greed is that the NCAA is a non-profit organization, which means that they are tax exempt. It’s simply unreasonable that a billion dollar organization who does not have to pay taxes is not paying the people who work to make them their money.

Now I’m not saying student athletes should be paid as much as professionals, but they should be compensated for their time and effort. In the NBA, the median salary is $2.5 million dollars and the league is still able to be profitable. I believe the NCAA can do the same thing, but just on a smaller scale. Student athletes wouldn’t have to be paid millions of dollars. They just need a fair wage for all of the hours they put into their sport.

This is a complex issue that won’t be resolved overnight. Even if the NCAA does decide to pay student athletes, there are a plethora of specific details that need to be sorted out before it becomes a reality. That being said, paying student athletes for all their hard work is the right thing to do. They have earned money for other people for long enough. It’s time they receive the money they deserve.