Pay College Athletes
THE SANTA CLARA
October 27, 2016
The Cleveland Indians, who are representing the American League in the World Series, are currently valued at $825 million dollars by Forbes. The payroll for the AL Champs is actually relatively inexpensive compared to the rest of the MLB—$114,707,868.
Let’s compare this to another popular team based in Ohio – the Ohio State University Buckeyes football team. In January of 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported that the most lucrative program in College Football was valued at a whopping $946.6 million dollars. However, the average salary for Ohio State players amounted to all of $0. What gives?
The NCAA has maintained since its inception that their student-athletes shall not receive compensation for their participation, regardless of how profitable they are. Instead, the NCAA claims the, “students’ priority remains on obtaining a quality educational experience and that all of student-athletes are competing equitably.”
At first glance, this policy seems to be an admirable attempt by the NCAA to enforce the value of education and make sure all universities are competing on a level playing field. In reality, it is just an outdated system enforced by a corrupt corporation, which incorrectly identifies as a non-profit, coupled with profit driven universities.
For starters, the universities responsible for delivering “the quality educational experience” for their student athletes don’t adhere to educational standards and are more concerned with the profits. The educational value provided for student-athletes definitely does not reconcile the issue of a lack of compensation.
Not only do universities refuse to reward the athletes, but also they punish players who take any sort of monetary reward from signing autographs or merchandise sales.
Student-athletes essentially work for the university—as they contribute significant value to the organization and are held to a strict code of conduct—yet they are treated as volunteers. The student who works in the school bookstore gets paid, yet the millions of dollars generated by the athletic program goes to everyone but the student-athlete. Something is clearly wrong.
The NCAA should not try to argue for equality amongst athletic programs when it is obviously disproportionate. Why should a basketball player for the University of Louisville—which was estimated by Forbes to be worth $39.5 million dollars in 2014—be restricted by the same amateur rule as a Louisville gymnast or even a fellow men’s program with significantly less value?
There are options for just compensation: whether it be a percentage of jersey sales—so that the best and most exciting players are compensated based on a merit system—or even a percentage of the ticket sales to reward the highest earning programs.
At the end of the day, there are a great deal of disenfranchised college athletes. It’s wrong for the NCAA to continue to argue that they are trying to protect student athletes’ well being when they won’t let them profit from their hard work and innate talent.
Ben Epstein is a senior finance major