Football is a rough sport and most players have very short careers. Players who stay in college for four years might sacrifice a year or two of earning potential in the NFL in order to stay in school long enough to earn a degree. There is no guarantee that a player can improve his draft status or, even more importantly, avoid injury while playing more years of college ball. Are we still naive enough to think that most college football players are just in it for the degree?
NCAA College Football is a big business and there is no need to look much further than the holiday bowl season to see what a boon it is for the NCAA and most of its schools. Throw in ticket sales and television revenue from network and cable deals as well, and college football is a pretty big business that fails to offer any compensation for its front line employees. Since they aren't really obligated to get a degree or graduate, are they truly under contract or are they really NCAA employees?
There are certainly many arguments that could be made for why college football players should get paid, but these ten reasons should offer plenty of support for paying the courageous young men who make sure Saturdays are more enjoyable.
10 It Will Pay for More Than Just Textbooks
When Shabazz Napier ripped the NCAA after the UConn Huskies men's basketball team won the national championship, many people listened. Napier questioned the NCAA's decision to ban the Huskies for academic issues, as well as for making players go hungry by not allowing them to have any money to grab a bite to eat after hours or when dining options are scarce. The truth is that full scholarships can be great for students who get extra money from their parents but for those who don't, life can be hard.
9 It Will Help Teach Financial Responsibility
Many players come from working class households and experience the shock of jumping up several income brackets when they sign their first NFL contract. Getting paid in college would help teach these players some responsibility before they are rewarded a big NFL/NBA contract. Even though the numbers may not be quite the same, anything players can learn about money in college can go a long way towards saving more of it when they get to the pros.
8 It Will Give Suspensions More Bite
When players make a mistake in college and get suspended for a game or less, what kind of penalty is that? Many suspensions are carried out during non-conference games early in the season, when games often have a little less meaning. Any punishment only hurts the program and the players who are more dedicated to their craft. If players were paid, there would be more direct consequences to any lapses in judgement and selfish behavior.
7 Paying Players Will Help Reduce Corruption
If players were paid for playing football, the other rules with endorsement income and autograph sales can be more easily enforced. Players currently have nothing to lose but a little playing time when they look to bend rules that keep them from getting paid. Many colleges are not exactly encouraged to report any autograph signings, gifts from alumni or even any free meals. It is easy to see why the players feel entitled to accept any gifts that might come their way.
6 It Might Keep More Players in School
Paying players to play in college, might actually keep a few more of them in school. Sometimes the decision to leave school is purely economical as many players are lured to the potential money that can be made at the next level. Getting paid to play in college can make it easier to stay in school when a player's draft stock can be improved, experience at the collegiate level enhanced and education on and off the field furthered. It might lead some players to stick around and work on a degree, their skills or maturity.
5 It Will Help Players Adjust to College, Socially and Economically
Many top sports recruits come from the inner city, country or a humble environment and going off to college is a completely new experience. Most of the young people at major universities in the United States come from families that have incomes that are well above the national average. Players are asked to come to institutions where they are not social equals and yet they are expected to feel good about the situation and themselves.
4 Playing Football is a Job, Not P.E.
Asking these players to go to school and play football is quite a tall order when many have coasted through classes in high school. Assuming we treat them like student athletes, it seems like football can be treated as a part-time job at the bare minimum. Getting paid to play college ball might actually make it easier to look at school as more of an opportunity worth taking. Many athletes could actually take classes for money management, investing and business instead of going through the motions of formal undergraduate studies.
3 Players Give Up Their Bodies for Their School
Football is a physically demanding sport that requires players to keep their bodies in tip top shape. It is not simply a class where a "C" can be earned for just getting by. The demands on the body are quite extensive and there really is very little time to keep up with studies or take on a part-time job for extra money. Students who work in labs at night or the bookstore during the day get paid for doing work that makes more money for their school. On the other hand, college football players sacrifice their bodies almost daily and put themselves in danger for each and every game, all without pay.
2 Make Money Now! Football Careers Can Be Short
For many players, playing college football comes with a cost that can have a big impact on their ability to make money in the NFL. The draft position of players can often be affected in a big way by major injuries that might occur when players are in college. Paying players who play the college game will at least ensure that players are earning some money now in case their future becomes cloudy. For most scholarship players, their careers are starting and ending at the collegiate level. Just because they might never get a chance to play on Sunday doesn't mean they don't help fill stadiums and television airtime on Saturdays.
1 NCAA College Football Makes Money, So Players Should Too!
The NCAA and its most popular teams make lots of money. The University of Texas generated over $100 million in revenue in 2011 ($104 million), marking the first time in history the $100 million barrier had been eclipsed. Thanks to lucrative television deals, merchandising and boasting many of the largest sporting venues in the United States, college football makes lots of money. Cable and network television deals alone add millions of dollars to the coffers of individual collegiate programs. With so much money coming in, the players are expected to do slave labor without a cut?
This is incredibly unjust! How many other businesses make millions of dollars and don't pay their employees? These are kids that are pulled from their homes and yanked away from loved ones to cross the country to a situation where football comes first and school is an afterthought. The vast majority of these players are not Rhodes scholars, have never been asked to excel in the classroom, and are thrown into prestigious universities where most students had to compete to get in. Does the public really think that these universities are hard at work making sure athletes get the most out of their education? It is highly unlikely that a "D" or "F" on a test receives the same attention as an ankle sprained during practice. This is a hypocritical situation.
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