Should college athletes get paid?
The NCPA and Drexel University Department of Sport Management conducted a joint study, which blames colleges sports scandals on a black market created by unethical and unpractical NCAA restrictions on college athletes. Examining football and basketball teams from Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) colleges, the study calculates athletes’ out-of-pocket educational related expenses associated with a “full” scholarship, compares the room and board portion of players’ scholarships to the federal poverty line and coaches’ and athletic administrators’ salaries, and uses NFL and NBA collective bargaining agreements to estimate the fair market value of FBS football and basketball players. The study highlights college presidents' admission of their inability to reform college sports and calls for federal intervention to help bring forth a new model of amateurism in college sports that emphasizes education, minimizes violations, and allows players to seek commercial opportunities.
- The average scholarship shortfall (out-of-pocket expenses) for each “full” scholarship athlete was approximately $3222 per player during the 2010-11 school year.
- The room and board provisions in a full scholarship leave 85% of players living on campus and 86% of players living off campus living below the federal poverty line.
- The fair market value of the average FBS football and basketball player was $121,048 and $265,027, respectively.
- University of Texas football players’ fair market value was $513,922 but they lived $778 below the federal poverty line and had a $3,624 scholarship shortfall.
- Duke basketball players were valued at $1,025,656 while living just $732 above the poverty line and a scholarship shortfall of $1,995.
- The University of Florida had the highest combined football and basketball revenues while its football and basketball players’ scholarships left them living $2,250 below the federal poverty line and with a $3190 scholarship shortfall.
My take has always been that college athletes are employees that generate a ton of revenue. Practice and games are mandatory attendance, like a job. Other college students are allowed to work at the school, and can demand wages that are competitive with what they can make off-campus, while athletes are restricted from holding an outside job.
I've also always felt that as a whole, their scholarships leave them vastly underpaid. There ought to be a way to regulate the industry and still provide athletes compensation commensurate with the revenue they generate.
And finally, what benefit does imposing such a harsh standard for amateur eligibility do for anyone besides those making the money off of their production?