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Student-Athletes: Why it’s time for colleges to start paying their “employees”

Darian Mathews/ The Signal
Darian Mathews/ The Signal
Darian Mathews/ The Signal

What would you do if I said there was a billion-dollar business that did not pay their  “employees”? Would you be mad? Would you protest? Well grab your pitchforks, torches and picket signs, because this business exists and it’s called college football.

Amateurism is “crucial to preserving an academic environment in which acquiring a quality education is the first priority,” according to the NCAA’s website.

The NCAA’s requirements “do not allow contracts with professional teams, salary for participating in athletics, prize money above actual and necessary expenses, tryouts, practice or competition with a professional team and benefits from an agent or prospective agent, along with other restrictions.”

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All these rules are strictly on the players and do not apply at all to schools, which allows them to make billions of dollars and not have to share it with the players.

According to CBSSports, “the power five conferences (plus Notre Dame) totaled $6.3 billion in revenue during 2014-15,” but there still is no actual cash to pay “student athletes”.

The fact that student-athletes are still given no money in return for the work that they do while everyone around them gets millions is complete bullshit.

According to Forbes, the University of Texas made $142 million off football in 2014. Auburn just a built a 13.9 million dollar football scoreboard this year. If you have a little less the $14 million to spend on a scoreboard, you should be paying your athletes a little bit more than just an education, food while they are on campus, and housing.

Football teams are practically giving money to everyone and everything but the people that actually produce the work.

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It’s 2016 and we are still having the same arguments and hearing the same talking points that we have heard for years.


The players are the only amateurs

Darian Mathews/ The Signal
Darian Mathews/ The Signal

You have the “they are amateurs” group that always pops out when you discuss this issue. How can college football be an amateur league when everyone that participates in it besides the players make money.

One of the biggest stars in college athletics, Josh Rosen, spoke out against amateurism in college football last week.

“If they want to call it an amateur sport, hire amateur coaches, don’t have TV deals. Don’t have 100,000 people in the stands and don’t sell tickets” Rosen said in his interview with cbssports.com.

Rosen isn’t factually wrong, as the coaches get paid millions, the athletic directors and s.i.d’s get six figure salaries,” according to USA TODAY.

The referees get paid six figures –basketball– or a couple thousand a game [for] football,” according to the New York Times.

Players in division I football said they spent an average of 44.8 hours a week on their sport,” according to USA Today. If you give more than 40 hours a week to something, you work there.

These same college football programs have no problem using these “student-athletes” likeness on websites, schedules and flyers to promote their college games or events. They then will turn around and tell you that they are not employees. It’s wrong and we all know it.

You then have to deal with the “it would mess up competitive balance group.”

Could there really be any less parity than there is now. Every year we know that Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and LSU are going to be the teams that compete for a title.


If they wanted to, they would

We then get to the most popular excuse for not paying players, which is “ if we pay them, how would we do it.” It always amuses me that when it is time to make money, people find ways to get it done, but when it is time to pay money, the process is way too hard to figure out.

College football had know problem implementing a playoff system which allowed the schools to make more money. You ask them about a process to pay athletes cash, and they act like you’re asking them to solve a quantum physics equation. The point is that when a company that makes billions wants to do something, they find a way to do it.

I think the main reason a lot of people think college football players shouldn’t be paid is because they are thinking from their own college experiences and do not put themselves in the shoes of the college athletes.

”Full scholarships cover tuition and fees, room, board and course-related books,” according to NCAA website.

Many of them believe that a free education, meal plan, and housing should be adequate pay for what they do for the university.

I would agree with that sentiment if the universities did not make so much money.

Just because you would be fine with the amenities that college athletes receive doesn’t mean it’s right. I think we could all learn to put our biases aside and focus on what is right and fair. And letting everyone involved with college football profit except for the athletes surely isn’t  fair.



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