Why College Athletes Should Get Paid
The single most debated topic when it comes to compensating student-athletes concerns whether student athletes should be paid beyond the full cost of attending school. The pay for play doctrine, in which athletes would earn a portion of the revenue they help generate, is a highly controversial topic that has become more popular in recent years. The arguments in favor of pay for play originate from the fact that the players are the reason why the NCAA is able to make television contracts. These contracts include $11 billion over 14 years Just for the television rights to March Madness.
Without the players of different sports and genders, the NCAA would not exist, let alone be able to sign huge contracts like that. Also, the report on “The Price of Poverty in Big Time College Sport” found statistics that show that these athletes deserve to be compensated. By using NFL and NBA collective bargaining agreements to estimate the fair market value of FBS football and basketball players, the study found that football players attending the University of Texas and basketball players at Duke have enormous fair market values.
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Football players at Texas have a fair market value of $513,922, while basketball players at
Duke have a fair market value of $1 according to the study. I don’t feel that these players need to be paid that much because that is more than minimum salaries in both professional leagues, but from a business standpoint it isn’t ethical for these athletes to not be paid. Representative Bobby Rush of Illinois attended a congressional roundtable discussion on college sports in Washington, DC and described what the NCAA does as “a systemic, ongoing, prolonged abuse of thousands and thousands of innocent young men and women who are only trying to make a life for themselves and live the American dream.
Athletes from the football got in trouble because their athletes received improper benefits would argue that pay for play would put an end to the black market for paying players. Many argue that these athletes are at school to get an education, but some come from families that could use the extra money for necessities. If these athletes were to get paid to play it could give them an incentive to not sell merchandise and to stay in school and get their degree.
Also, Rob Gilmore who is an ESPN college football analyst states that at least 42 of the 119 division 1 football coaches earn more than $1 million per ear, but the athletes are the ones out on the field. So if it wasn’t for the performance of the athletes, the coaches would not earn those salaries. When he played for the Ohio State Buckeyes, Terrell Pryor was a superstar of the game. Not only was he one of the best quarterbacks, but overall was one of the best players and that is why him selling memorabilia, was so widely publicized.
Like I stated in my introduction, more and more players are selling memorabilia because of necessities that loved ones may need in time of their absence from home. In an article covered y ESPN Terrell Pryor was quoted saying, “The reason why I did it was to pay my mother’s gas bill and some of her rent. I was telling the NCAA, ‘Please, anything that you can do. I gave my mother this so my sister wouldn’t be cold, so my mother wouldn’t be cold. ‘ They didn’t have any sympathy for me. Pryor also told reporters that he sold his pants for $3,000 but friends of Pryor’s said that he made off of autographs. The point is there is going to be stars of the college game that take advantage of their stardom and ones that need the extra help to support their family when they leave for college. By paying these athletes a fair amount you could be doing them a well deserved Justice as well as doing away with a lot of the behind the scenes scandals. Not only is paying athletes the ethical thing to do, but when other people benefit from their pay it is possible for the law to be broke.
One law that the NCAA violates when profiting of the student-athletes is the right of publicity. The law is defined as “The right of publicity prevents the unauthorized commercial use of an individual’s name, likeness, or other recognizable aspects of one’s persona. It gives an individual the exclusive right to license the use f their identity for commercial promotion. ” This also shows that the NCAA violates the law by not allowing the student-athletes to profit off their own personas. One example of how the NCAA violates the Right to Publicity is through Jersey sales.
Up until recently they did this in two ways; one way was selling game worn Jerseys to retailors, the other which has been stopped was selling replica Jerseys on the NCAA online store. Under the common law of Right to Publicity the NCAA should not be able to sell used Jerseys to retailors without consent of the player and should also include some compensation for the sale. The player whose Jersey is being sold would not have as high of value if the said player would have never played for an NCAA school.
The NCAA uses the success of an athlete or program/school to make a profit on its Jersey sales. Contrary to the success of a team where it’s not the name on the back you play for but it’s the name on the front, Jersey sales are based more on the name of the player on the Jersey or of the player who wore it. This stays true even in professional sport, When Lebron James moved from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat he still stayed in the top 10 in Jersey sales. This shows that the of his own publicity that he makes money.
The other way the NCAA made money from Jersey sales was from selling them on the online store. Even though the NCAA ended this in September it is still very relevant. This aspect of Jersey sales was brought into the spot light when Texas A&M Johnny Manziel football player was put into the spotlight when he was accused of selling merchandise and making a profit, an NCAA violation. When his status as an amateur athlete, which would make him ineligible to compete in the NCAA, was in question; many former NCAA athletes came to the defense of Manziel.
One former Duke Basketball player, Jay Bilas, accused the NCAA of being hypocrites when he went on their store and was able to search any players Jersey by name and buy it, even though the NCAA is not allowed to use players names in their sale of Jerseys. The NCAA suspended their direct merchandise sales in September due to the outrage over the issue. These two examples, selling used Jerseys and selling replica Jerseys, show that the NCAA was in violation of the Right to Publicly.
The NCAA either needs to forego all merchandise sales tied directly to its athletes or they need to offer some compensation for any ales that the NCAA benefits from its athletes. Another way the NCAA violates the right to publicity is in the video games they create partnered with EA Sports. This is currently a hot topic and is being argued in courts. Former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon filed a lawsuit against the NCAA for using his image in a video game. The NCAA and EA Sports currently make video games for football but in the past had made them for basketball and baseball.
The video games do not use player names but they do use their numbers and accurately portray player’s skill sets and body types. O’Bannon has gained tremendous support from former athletes saying that they deserve compensation because the NCAA and EA Sports both profited from the players likeness. So far EA Sports has settled for 40 million dollars, which will be distributed between 200,000-300,000 current and former NCAA athletes. The current lawsuit between O’Bannon and the NCAA is ongoing.
Many people covering the lawsuit are calling the NCAA hypocritical because they do not allow student-athletes to profit off themselves but the NCAA has taken many steps to make money from the student-athletes, none of which is seen by the student-athletes. The fact that EA Sports settled in its case shows that they understand that the NCAA did something wrong. The fact that the NCAA will not admit to that and still withholds its student- athletes from making money off themselves while he NCAA continues to do so Just shows that the system needs to be adjusted to better help the student-athletes.
The NCAA is an organization that should be looking out for the best interest of its student-athletes. For the most part the NCAA does this but when it comes to compensation the NCAA needs to adjust. The way the NCAA has treated its student- athletes would rival forms of theft. Between the sale of Jerseys and profiting of layers personas in video games, the student-athletes should have earned some compensation for being the driving factor behind the revenues made from these two activities.
From the examples listed above the NCAA needs to revise its bylaws that deal with players and making money/being compensated. It is not legally and morally correct to be withholding money from student-athletes who had a large part in generating the money.