This week on The Malliard Report Jim pulls a fan favorite and opens up the phone lines, and the conversation certainly kicks off come lively debates. The topics are certainly diverse and lively and even spills into the Duck Pond live chat. This week one of the main hit points is the most recent motion to allow college athletes to be compensated and the money that talks in NCAA.
So, should collegiate athletes be paid for their tenure at university? This is something that is not new to the proverbial table and has been discussed ad nauseum for many years. There are solid arguments both for and against the topic and we’ll run through a few here:
“They Rake In Cash for Their Schools. College athletes make their schools millions of dollars, so they should naturally receive a cut of the action. This argument holds true especially for football and basketball players, who become household names during their respective seasons. They Give Their Schools Valuable Exposure. The exposure student-athletes bring to their schools can boost applications and donations. The Flutie Effect on college admissions — named for Doug Flutie, the Boston College quarterback who put his institution on the map in 1984 with his famous Hail Mary pass against the University of Miami and his Heisman-winning season — can be dramatic. For BC, the effect was a 30% increase in applications over two years. Playing Equals Working. Participating in intercollegiate athletics constitutes a full-time job. A 2017 NCAA survey revealed that Division I athletes dedicate an average of 35 hours per week to their sport during the season. Sports Take Away From Studies. Sports’ considerable time commitment cuts into students’ study time. Leaving aside barbs about the “student” part of “student-athlete,” how is an athlete supposed to keep up with academics during their playing season? What about earning good grades and positioning oneself for the competitive job market? Might some form of financial compensation make this compromise easier to take? Athletes Need Spending Money. Like other college students, athletes need spending money. Even if a student receives a full-ride scholarship, the award doesn’t provide pocket money for incidentals and entertainment. If a student doesn’t hold a part-time job, where does that money come from (besides their parents)? The Potential for Injury Makes Compensation a Must. Athletes constantly risk injury and therefore deserve proper compensation. A seriously injured athlete could lose their scholarship (which is guaranteed only for one year at a time), jeopardize their opportunity to play professionally and potentially earn millions, or even face lifelong disability if the damage is permanent.”
So now that we argued for why they should be paid, let’s take a look at why we should not pay students: “They Already Get Full Scholarships. One of the primary arguments against paying student-athletes rests on the assumption that they already receive full college scholarships. But as we’ve discussed, this is seldom the case — most athletes only receive partial scholarships. Secondary Sports Would Suffer. If a university decided to pay student-athletes, where would that money come from? Not likely from the school itself. Of the roughly 1,100 athletic programs governed by the NCAA, only 25 had net positive revenue in 2019. The vast sums earned from football and basketball subsidize all other sp Exactly who gets paid and how much? The economics of a paid-athlete system is messy at best. At worst, it’s chaotic and threatens team morale. Should all athletes be paid? That’s not likely. How about only football and basketball players? What determines how much each player should earn? Is the third-string left guard worth as much as the starting quarterback? Will the coach make these determinations? What if the coach’s son plays on the team? Determining Salaries Could Get Messy. Rich Universities Would Benefit the Most. Assuming a free-market system, the chasm between the haves and have-nots would widen even further. Universities best positioned to pay athletes top dollar would win bidding wars and recruiting battles against institutions with limited budgets. Athletic competition nationwide would suffer as a result. Might the It Would Take Away From the Love of the Game is exacerbate booster interference and create a black market for top talent funded surreptitiously? Title IX Could Muddy Payment Structure. Title IX stipulates that colleges must provide equal opportunities for male and female athletes. Does this rule apply to payment structures, too, though? Would a university have to pay female athletes in aggregate the same amount as their male counterparts? Not necessarily — but a school would be required to ensure that female athlete receive proportionate opportunities for scholarships.”
As you can see, there really is no easy answer to this question, but there is certainly room for lively discussion, in which we invite you to join in every Tuesday night over at malliard.com. Also, remember to rate and subscribe through your favorite podcast app! Reach out to Jim on all social media @malliard