Sample Research Paper On Paying NCAA Athletes

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Students, Sports, Education, Athletes, College, Payment, Money, Debate

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2021/02/01

Sports at colleges are not only an entertainment and camaraderie arena in which students, parents and professional sports scouts follow closely but are also a major source of revenue. According to a recent audited financial statement issued recently (Strachan), NCCA almost hit 1 USD billion at USD 989 million for FY2014. This is a sum which practically exceeds revenues achieved in smaller countries from major sources of income. Interestingly, NCAA revenue is, mainly, derived from marketing, advertising and sales sources, all of which promote popular student athletes on campus, TV (particularly giants such as ESPN) and on on-demand platforms. Student athletes – mainly African-American – are NCAA's main material for promotional efforts and activities. Fans and followers pay for tickets, stand in long lines, make online purchase decisions based on popularity and a broad appeal of cult evoked by student athletes play for colleges, unpaid. That an organization should continue to witness substantial growth in revenue and students / staff / associates who, under her rules and are registered as amateur athletes, are not compensated for playing has raised debated and reasonable questions about student athlete compensation. The debate about student athlete payment is a long and historical one. However, as NCAA revenue has continued to increase over years, questions of accountability and revenue sharing began to emerge, particularly as benefits to student athletes remained confined to conventional ones covering scholarships and medical insurance. Further, since colleges gain substantial advantages from enrolling students and continue to expand in sports programs (Ashburn), criticisms against both colleges and NCAA are intensified. If colleges continue to raise tuition fees and diversify in revenue sources, in one hand, and if NCAA continues to impose same rules for decades on student athletes for registration – continuing to ban student athletes from registration for professional associations – and witness her revenues rise year over year, on another hand – where are student athletes, so argument goes, in all?
Further, student athlete debate is not confined to finances only. If anything, participation in college sports has often been associated with specific, favorable images of purity, selflessness and devotion (Rush). The case of Cris Carter is, in fact, a revealing one. Having signed for a professional sports agent, prior to expiration of his NCAA amateur status, Carter has his college sports career ended and had to endure frustrations and loss because of his signature (Rush). Carter's case has called for radical reviews for NCAA regulations and mandates.
The case for student athletes is, indeed, a debatable and multifaceted one. The debate becomes more acute as means to share revenue and student athlete status are discussed. More specifically, in discussing revenue sharing, a basic question arises: who should, after all, reap benefits for efforts on field? In discussing student athlete status, who are student athletes, after all? Put differently, what focus is for student athletes to be emphasized: amateur sports player or college student? Given how interlocked are concerned issues, further investigation is required for better understanding of student athlete payment debate. This paper aims, hence, to further explore college athlete payment.
As noted, paying NCAA athletes is a long and historical debate. Until very recently, debate over whether college athletes should be paid or not has been discussed in light of revenues achieved by NCAA and as finals approach ("Should NCAA Athletes Be Paid?"; Futterman). As student athletes, according to present arguments, continue to play for free for colleges – and hence boost college image and fatten coffers – whether continuing to abide by NCAA rules remain open to question. NCAA – along with college – officials argue against payment for students based on an academic-performance proposition. According to NCAA and college officials as well as sponsors, college athletes are, after all, students, whose academic performance should be emphasized over sportsmanship. Further, college athletes receive adequate compensation. This is, according to NCAA, evident in financial aids, medical insurance and monthly stipends. Still, main question remains as to whether college students are paid enough or not? Or whether college students should be paid at all?
Further, as noted, college athlete payment is an ethical issue as well. Given Cris Carter's case, payment was not in fact case's main focus – particularly for a high performing student and athlete – but how NCAA regulations and rules made college sports a much mythologized area of public interest rather than an area of contested, realistic debate (Rush). Put differently, by assuming an image of purity, selflessness and devotion, college sports are being discussed more as an image in American collective mind and as an ideal constructed and cemented rather than an actual, everyday, negotiable issue. Accordingly, what is offered for discussion in public about college athletes – and college sports in general – is not, in fact, what college athletes – and college sports – is about but what is presumed to be about. Probably, payment for college athletes should be reframed differently. That is, instead of only framing discussions about college athletes about payments – mainly from NCAA's, college's and sponsor's point of view – debates should be expanded to cater for different considerations including, but not limited to, sports ethics, fulfillment as well as recreation and entertainment. Consequently, public discourse about college athletes should be further moderated and rationalized.
The centrality of debate about college athletes on payment is deeply entrenched. This is manifest not only in a plethora of research about payment for college athletes but also in how economic scalability is college athleticism. In an array of studies about men's and women's collegiate sports teams, economic viability for teams is estimated for each premium player. For example, a premium woman basketball player is estimated to yield USD 250,000 annually (Brown and Jewell). In an economic light, each player is of a specific market and commercial value. The return-on-investment (ROI) for each player, according to economic logic, is measured based on marketability and sales performance. Unsurprisingly, accordingly, college athletes are recruited based on appeal to broad fan base. Further, future recruitments are based on similar, former patterns. That is, by hiring new recruits, sports departments seek potential recruits who are similar in appeal to broader fan base and in marketability to sponsors to former, premium student athletes who yielded profits and were marketable enough to generate more profits. This is a view deeply entrenched in NCAA and college mentality and which, in order to be change, for good, must be reviewed radically. Consider, for example, a different perspective by which student athletes are viewed.
Against such a background, a discussion of whether college athletes should be paid or not is not a question confined to stipend or finical benefits alone. Given uniqueness of college athlete status, college athletes might not be concerned about payment per se. As well, how ethical is NCAA in her restriction of student registration for professional associations or agents remains open to debate. If anything, college athletes – and, for that matter, college sports – are mythologized in American collective mind in such a way as to bar different conceptualizations of college sports. Paradoxically, at one extreme college athletes are intensely commercialized in media – as big business – and mythologized in American public mind, at another extreme – as an activity of purity, selflessness and devotion. Still, no middle ground is offered for debate about college athletes. The basic questions remain unanswered adequately.
In conclusion, rising revenues year over year achieved by NCAA has raised questions about college athlete payment. Given current NCAA regulations and rules, NCAA – and, indeed, colleges and sponsors – are subject to escalating criticism. Taken differently, college athlete payment could be farmed differently. By understanding college sports in general as ethical, college athlete payment could be framed as a mythologized form of a collective American mentality by which college sports in general is perceived as a pure, selfless and devoted activity. Given how dominant economic perspective is for college athlete payment, different – but critical – understandings of college sports appear to be sidelined. Probably, one critical issue in debate about college athlete payment is student motivation. As matters stand, students practice sports for very different reasons but, probably most significantly, for recreational, entertainment and, not least, self-actualization purposes. The question of college athlete payment requires, consequently, further investigations in order to frame debate in more moderated and rationalized light. The commercialization of college sports has, in fact, caused more harm to discussions about payment for players who are, above all, students. A more holistic discussion is, hence, required in order to better frame college athlete payment – and college sports.

Works Cited

Ashburn, Elyse. "To Increase Enrollment, Community Colleges Add More Sports." Chronicle of Higher Education 53.44 (2007): A31. ERIC. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
Brown, W. Robert, and Jewell, Todd R. "The Marginal Revenue Product of a Women's College Basketball Player." Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society 45.1 (2006): 96–101. Wiley Online Library. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
Futterman, Mathew. "Should Athletes Get a Piece of the NCAA Tournament Revenue?" The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc., 17 Mar. 2015. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
Rush , Sharon Elizabeth. " Touchdowns, Toddlers, and Taboos: On Paying College Athletes and Surrogate Contract Mothers." Arizona Law Review 31.5 (1989): n. pag. Social Science Research Network. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
Sack, L. Allen. "Are "Improper Benefits" Really Improper? A Study of College Athletes' Views Concerning Amateurism." Journal of Sport and Social 12.1 (1988):  1-16. SAGE Journals. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
"Should NCAA Athletes Be Paid?" U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report, n.d. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
Strachan, Maxwell. "The NCAA Just Misses $1 Billion In Annual Revenue." The Huffington Post. The Huffington Post, 11 Mar. 2011. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
Woodruff, L. Althea, and Schallert, L. Diane. "Studying to play, playing to study: Nine college student-athletes’ motivational sense of self." Contemporary Educational Psychology 33.1 (2008): 34–57. ScienceDirect. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.

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