The society is drastically changing in many aspects including technology, which is the foundation of all the changes. Parents, brothers, sisters, and relatives would not just sit in front of the screen watching their ‘child’ participate in an intercollegiate sports competition and expect nothing in monetary terms. One feels satisfied to reach a higher level in college sports as a team player or an athlete, but this would not be enough especially in the current economic situation. Everything needs funding, and even parents or guardians contribute to see their siblings, sons or daughters excel in sports and other activities like singing and acting. Thus, the discussion concerning whether college players should be paid for their achievements and efforts before completing college has received some significant attention in the recent past (Cohen, 2011). In this case, it would not be good at all to treat college and university athletes as if they were the system’s workhorses. There exists the idea that athletes should be treated and paid as university employees. This has been a crux to many colleges and universities and it is high time its direction has been changed for the better.
College athletes routinely make headlights in the news for their excellent athletic achievements (Lee, 2000). Thus, an issue whether to pay college athletes and other players or not needs to be restructured by college sports authorities. The main question is: how could college sports such as athletics, football, and basketball generate billions of dollars as revenue in intercollegiate athletics industrial complex while the players end up being unpaid or underpaid? College athletes produce revenues to the schools, which sponsor the students, certain television networks, shoe companies, and the conferences, which are linked with the schools (Meshefejian, 2005, p. 17). The corporations that sponsor and underwrite the college sporting events also earn incomparable exposure for their products (McCormick & McCormick, 2006, pp. 75-76). Thus, not paying or underpaying college athletes should not be taken lightly especially by financers and fans or even the players’ relatives. Most colleges only ensure that they offer scholarships as a compensation for the sports activities. Colleges are not the only institutions that benefit from sports; the media also makes a lot of money out of the tournaments. In order to defend their side of not paying athletes, college authorities argue that if each player were paid this would destroy all campus sports. They would be too much different from the way they are today.
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According to Mark Emmert, National College Athletics Association (NCAA) president, the sports system in the higher institutions of the USA has certain problems. Mark Emmert has conducted significant reforms in NCAA. He has been promoting certain changes in the system, which include raising of educational standards for the college athletes, offering the athletes a four year scholarship, and reviewing the National Council of Athletes Association’s policies. He suggests that this review has to be done in a full scale and alterations should be implemented.
Emmert has also been supporting the idea that all Division I schools should be paying at least $2,000 as remuneration. According to Emmert, this would be better than no salary at all (Miller, 2012). At least the students will feel appreciated for what they are doing for the college or university. Being the former president at the University of Washington, Emmert highlights the hardships that athletes go through whenever their efforts are not recognized as part of their career lives. He argues that the remuneration offered would be more of a motivational token rather than salary. Emmert discourages the payment of salaries to athletes (Miller, 2012). He cites that once colleges and universities move towards paying for each game or competition, college student players and athletes will be converted into employees. This would be a bad stipulation and a death to the college and university athletes. However, critics of NCAA’s ban on college athlete remuneration raise several reasons in support of compensation. They state that sportsmen and athletes are not sufficiently supported and not enough players are graduating or are able to take full advantage of their college education (Emmert, 2012).
The idea of earning from college athletics has created many doubts on the identity of a college player. If college athletes start receiving salary then even high-school athletes will want to participate in the university and college athletics. This was realized after the suggestion of remunerating $2,000 to each college athlete. There have been several cases of high-school athletes signing binding letters with intentions of attending at least university or college. The main motive behind signing high-school students is the promised token, but still universities and colleges were in dire need of making money out of more and better athletes.
After the same suggestion, there were protests by directors of colleges and universities. They claimed that the remuneration sum was too high and they could hardly afford to pay all the athletes. The conference commissioners for the same sports and organizations covering colleges and universities also supported the claims made by the directors. After a month, the council for athletes association decided to support the directors’ claims and, subsequently, they suspended all the payments. However, due to legal aspects concerning agreements and contracts, any athlete who had signed an agreement was to get the payment, while those who had been enrolled for a scholarship would not be compensated at all.
Other opponents of the remuneration package argued that tuition is a form of compensation with additional benefits, such as free-college room and books. This is labeled as enough for compensating college athletes. Since every talented freshman in college or university could get a scholarship, the argument is that there is no need for monetary compensation. The main problem is whenever players of a certain sport are paid, in a college or university setting, players participating in other sports would demand for salaries either. This implies that the college authorities will be straining in sourcing for funds to pay everyone. This would cause violence in the sports’ departments and among players, since every individual will demand for remuneration.
A wide range of college sports participants earns quite a significant amount of money. Colleges and universities earn enormous revenues in addition to other significant indirect profits from the athletics programs (McCormick & McCormick, 2006, p. 75); the money would be enough to compensate each and every college player, including athletes. The issue of where colleges would get the money to pay their athletes is unrealistic. University sports activities have been generating sufficient funds, which are taken by the NCAA while the rest are allocated to the universities hosting the sports. The amateur college sports are a lucrative business, but the rules of NCAA argue that college sports are only part of the education experience. In fact, presently, collegiate sports have evolved to be a kind of a business enterprise, so there appears to be a need to devise a workers benefits compensation program (Haskins, 1992).
The Turner Deal is among the many deals that universities and colleges make with the aim of earning money from hosting sports. This should make the sports authorities re-think on the issue of using college athletes as workhorses. For instance, the four-year deal that earns BCS up to $500 million is something worth thorough consideration. This added to the first deal would amount to about $11.3 billion; this money can be utilized to give hefty compensation to the staff hosting the event, college athletes, and other players involved in the sporting events. It would be senseless for someone to work and earn money for an organization but never to receive any payments. This could be seen as a mere personal opinion, but every person feels this way. The money earned from the sports events can be used in covering the various costs associated with the event, such as televising and other promotional events, paying the promoters of the sporting event, and undertaking major investments that are critical to the success of the sport event. No one opposes the ideas of making these payments, but the athletes need to be compensated properly. These are the most critical and important people in the event, as without them the sporting event cannot take place.
Failing to honor the athletes’ efforts in the success of a sporting event is a form of capitalism. Any revenue gained through sports should be distributed equitably. There is no need to consider who hosted the sports on the side of the management or coaches and other authorities. Those who produce the revenues need to feel that they have done something great, and that they are appreciated for their contribution to the success of the sporting event. This has not been executed for several years (Lewis, 1970). College sportsmen live in an optimistic world without immediate returns. In order to have hope in the future, the present needs to be good and the future should be promising. Capitalism in college sports has been observed in numerous sporting events; men and women playing basketball, hockey, and soccer are not being compensated. This is rather unfair; colleges and universities earn significant sums of money after hosting such games. This money is accrued by people who may have contributed very little to the sport activities. Some of them would be comfortably seated, not even knowing much of what is happening or has already happened.
The rampant embezzlement of the funds earned from hosting college sporting events is evident from various scandals; for instance, the scandal in the University of Miami concerning the department of athletics. This happened in August 2011, and led to protests where the demonstrators openly demanded for the compensation of the players. The lack of payment to the players angered the fans; the anger of the fans cannot be compared to the anger felt by the players. The argument raised by the university to support the non-compensation of the players was that the university would incur up to $200 million annually if it agreed to compensate the athletes. That, according to the university authorities, was a large and unnecessary expense. The amount is actually feasible, but there are many obstacles to be overcome before directing some of the millions generated in each sport by the student players who do the real work. One needs to specify the games for which the players will be paid. A special consideration should also be made to include female sporting events. Such and other group of players could be generating very little or no income to the college, but they are socially important to the university or college.
In conclusion, the cost of any product should bear the blood and sweat of the worker (Haskins, 1992). Numerous drawbacks exist on the issue of paying athletes, but still they have to be paid. This is critical in giving various sports a future since the young players will be motivated by the hefty remuneration to take sports as a profession. Cohen (2011) argues that paying players an average of $3,222 per season would be critical in preventing them from breaking the NCAA rules, which ban players from receiving cash, services, and gifts from supporters outside the benefits provided through sponsorships. By accepting the scholarship, the student creates a binding agreement with the institution, which has granted that award; the relationship requires the student to maintain a certain grade and perform athletically for the college or university in exchange for tuition, books, and a few other educational expenses (Yasser, 1984). From this view the college players are regarded as students. But this view is outdated since the players generate income to the respective colleges and universities. Colleges and universities should re-classify student athletes as any other employees and pay them as such through the Federal Work-Study program. They should be treated as college employees and should be paid correspondingly. Being an athlete or a player should be a kind of job for students, due to which they may promote their talents. But they should be regarded as employees only during the years of schooling at a college or university. This way, there would be no problem with any party having a feeling of being oppressed despite its valuable capacity in generating funds for the institution. Thus, college and university athletes and sportsmen should be treated as college employees and should be paid equally.
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