Student Athletes Claim for Compensation John Sari

The NCAA’s collegiate model is outdated and provides more harm than benefit for collegiate athletes. The universities that represent the NCAA should compensate college athletes for their efforts in revenue generating sports.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a voluntary association of approximately 1,200 colleges and universities. The NCAA’s first stated purpose in Division I Manual is “To initiate and improve intercollegiate athletics programs for student-athletes and to promote athletics participation as a recreational pursuit.”

In 1951, the NCAA utilized the term “student-athlete”. This term, created by former NCAA President Walter Byers has impacted collegiate athletes since its inception. In an interview, Walter Byers explained that he created the term “student-athlete” to avoid, “…the dreaded notion that NCAA athletes could be identified as employees by state industrial commissions and the courts.” Byers understood that if collegiate athletes were identified as “student-athletes”, the universities would not have to compensate them for participating in intercollegiate athletics. While this line of reasoning appeared to be fair at the time, collegiate athletics has changed dramatically since the 1950’s.

A newly released NCAA survey found that collegiate athletes are putting in the equivalent of full-time work weeks. For example, football players in the NCAA’s Division 1 said they spent an average of 44.8 hours a week on their sport. This number is staggering, since NCAA rules states that major-college football coaches can only spend twenty hours of their player’s time per week.

With the adoption of these new rules, many colleges and universities cut academic corners to help the athletes stay eligible to play. These schools needed to cut corners for many various reasons.

The logic behind providing compensation to collegiate athletes is unbelievably simple; anyone who creates value in something should share proportionally in that value. Collegiate athletes produce revenue for their college or university, therefore they deserve to earn benefits for their participation.

The NCAA is unlike any association of institutions or businesses in this country in that it can employ labor without paying a competitive wage for it. The members of the NCAA, the media corporations who televise the games, and the companies that advertise during games all generate mass amounts of revenue with college sports. Only one group is denied the privilege to earn money: the athletes themselves.

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