Americans love thethrill of hard competition. College athletics has always been at the heart ofthis. It has always been something more pure than professional athletics. Inrecent years college athletics has changed for the worse.
Players have driftedaway from what it used to mean to play college sports. They have fallen intoillegal activities and have left fans disappointed. One of the reasons for thischange is the lack of funds for the players. There are many benefits to payingcollege athletes.
In many cases, scholarship athletes are treated differentlythan academic scholarship recipients. There are unnecessary National CollegiateAthletic Association rules that restrict and even punish scholarship athletes. Embarrassed when one of its nonsensical rules was challenged in court bysophomore running back Darnell Autry of Northwestern, thesorry-you-can’t-do-that specialist on Overland Park, Kansas rounded up enoughmembers of their Administrative Review Panel (ARP) to over turn the originalruling and grant a waiver to Autry that allows him to accept a bit part in afeature film called The Eighteenth Angel (McCallum, 1996). It is not right thata football player, who loves drama, is not allowed to perform with his class andbe treated the same way. The rest of Autry’s class was to get paid for theirperformance but because of this he was originally not even permitted to performwith them. He was eventually allowed to perform but was not paid for hisperformance that every other student in the class was to be compensated for.
Something needs to change in the rulebooks regarding the absurd rules. The Autrycase was not the first case that protested a useless rule in the N. C. A. A. rulesand procedures.
And remember that the troublesome bylaw that almost tripped upAutry is still on the books, undoubtedly to be changed again (McCallum, 1996). Some of the rules are old fashioned and useless in today’s society. DarnellAutry is in a drama class and the N. C.
A. A. is hurting his education by limitinghis experience in that class. The N. C.
A. A. should not have jurisdiction over aplayers earnings outside his sports participation. The rules need to be lookedat and changed. Even if each and every one of its ruler-to-the-wrist statuteswas written for a sound reason, the collective impact is that the N.
C. A. A. ‘streatment of the student-athlete has become capricious, unnecessarily punitiveand hopelessly out-of-date (McCallum, 1996). One of the biggest complaintslately from college basketball fans is that to many athletes are leaving collegeearly to enter the draft.
Now some athletes are going straight from high schoolto the NBA and skipping college altogether. A record number of athletes who arestill eligible to play college ball have entered next month’s NationalBasketball Association draft, and have plans for two new professional leaguesfor teen-agers threaten to diminish the talent pool for college teams (Blum,1996). This upsets fans because they don’t get to see the best players. Thenations top high-school player, Kobe Bryant, was one of three seniors this yearto declare themselves eligible for the draft (Blum, 1996). Fans will follow ateam through bad years and good years but if a team has a good year many of itsplayers consider leaving college for the big money in the National BasketballAssociation. Fans like to get to know a team and support it but becomefrustrated because of players leaving.
Officials of big-time basketball programsare taking a new look at their sport-arguably the National Collegiate AthleticAssociation’s most popular and lucrative-which is beset by worries that it canno longer hang on to or perhaps even attract the game’s biggest stars (Blum,1996). The biggest reason for ball players to skip out on college and to enterinto the draft is because of the big money. Many players come from poor familiesand bad run down neighborhoods. They want an education but they do not want tomiss out on a chance to make money. They also do not have enough money to payfor things that scholarships will not pay for. They should get paid a limitedamount to help them live and enjoy college.
That way players can get aneducation and then, if they choose, enter the draft after graduation. The lackof money for the players will many times entice them to fall into illegalactivities. One of the illegal activities they might fall into is gambling. Boston College has announced a range of punishments for 21 students whoallegedly placed or handled illegal bets on sporting events (Haworth, 1997). InNovember the college removed two players from its football team and suspended 11others from the team-about 14 percent of the roster-after an investigation bythe college and the local District Attorney’s office showed that the players hadbet on college and professional sporting events (Haworth, 1997). Some of theathletes that were caught gambling were even betting against there own team.
This shows the desperation these players feel if they are betting against theirown team. Another illegal activity that athletes fall into is accepting giftsfrom sporting agents. This can have a huge effect on the team and on theplayer’s future. The National Collegiate Athletic Association has demanded thatthe university of Connecticut return $90,000 that it received after its men’sbasketball team reached the semifinals of the 1996 championship tournament (Naughton,1997). Two of the team’s players had accepted gifts from a sporting agent andwere therefore ineligible to compete, according to the N. C.
A. A. (Naughton,1997). The agent doesn’t care if the athlete gets caught.
If he gets caught, theathlete is no longer eligible to play in college so his only option is to playprofessional sports. This works out nicely for the agent since he can not bepaid if the player is in college. This is why the agent will give athletesgifts. Marcus Camby, whose dealings with sports agents led to that penalty, saidhe would make a donation to the university in the same amount (Naughton, 1996). Mr.
Camby now plays for the Toronto Raptors of the National BasketballAssociation (Naughton, 1997). Point shaving has always been one of the biggestproblems regarding illegal activity and college athletics. There have been manyinstances where college basketball players have either been caught or wereaccused of shaving points. One of the most recent cases was only a few monthsago when Northwestern basketball players were caught shaving points. Playersfall to this illegal activity because they want or are in need of more money. Many have little funds to start with so it is easier for them to accept a giftor to shave points.
If athletes were paid by the colleges, they might not aseasily fall into illegal activities. College athletics is a huge market. Colleges profit greatly off big-time college sports. Why shouldn’t the athletes?They are the ones that the fans come to see and are therefore responsible forbringing money to the college.
The CBS network agreed in 1994 to pay $1. 7billion to broadcast the tournament (men’s college basketball tournament) forthe following eight years (Economist, 1996). Not only is this a big money makerfor advertising it is big for everyone. Behind the super bowl it is the biggestgambling event.
In short, everyone from the winner of the office pool to themandarins of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which regulatescollege sport, will make a tidy buck from the event (Economist, 1996). Everyone,that is, except the athletes (Economist, 1996). Not only are athletes notgetting paid for their sport but they are not even allowed to take other jobs. They are not even allowed to take jobs in the college library or the localMcDonalds (Economist, 1996). Violate the rules and the price is expulsion(Economist, 1996). Some might think that the athletes payment is thescholarship, but this can be taken away.
They run for one year at a time; breaka leg or gain fifty pounds over the summer, and the scholarship can berevoked-no matter how good the athlete is in class (Economist, 1996). Thecollege is gambling on who is going to be the best, but in reality the collegecan not lose. They give only the top athletes scholarships in hopes that theseare going to be the stars and bring them money, but if the college realizes thata player is not worth scholarship money it is taken away. What is a playersupposed to do if he isn’t allowed to play his sport and his money for school istaken away? If colleges really care about the education of big-sport athletesthey should keep the halls open to athletes after the pro dream evaporates (Easterbrook,1998). For many players their dream is to get a contract to play for aprofessional team, but few players will end up in a professional league. Thereare ten times as many first-division college teams as professional ones.
Manyplayers will get neither a degree nor a contract (Economist, 1996). And, sincethey have been so well protected against commercial exploitation, they will nothave made a dollar from their greatest skill (Economist, 1996). Some of the bestcollege players in the nation will have no financial or educational benefitsafter their years of eligibility are up. They made the college money but theydidn’t receive a cent and now they have nothing to do with their life. Collegeathletes should be paid part of what the college is pulling in. This wouldeliminate athletic corruption while benefiting the athletes.
All big businessespay their employees. Shouldn’t colleges pay those who bring in their money? TheNational Collegiate Athletic Association does have some good programs that helpathletes in need. Each year for the past five years, the association hasdistributed $3-million among its 33 division 1 conferences, which have given themoney to athletes with special financial needs (Mangan, 1995). This is a greatprogram but there still needs to be more. If these athletes were paid adesignated amount of money they would not need financial aid.
They should atleast be allowed to work to obtain money. If their family has little funds tospare the athlete has no legal way of paying for anything that the scholarshipdoesn’t cover. There are many benefits to paying college athletes. Some playersin college don’t have much money and because of this many people suffer.
Thefans suffer because players leave college early for the draft. Since some of theplayers have little money they have an increased chance to fall into illegalactivities. Illegal activities such as point shaving, gambling, and acceptingmoney from agents. It is not right that the players are not paid and are notallowed to have a job.
Everyone else makes money from college athletics exceptthe athletes. The college, gamblers, advertisers, television stations, andcoaches all make money. The players are the only ones who don’t make money andthey are the ones the fans come to see. For the future of college athletics theplayers should be paid.