By Kevin Barry
Should collegiate level athletes be paid? An age old question that the NCAA has been dancing around for years upon years. Back in the days of normality in October of 2019 California Governor Gavin Newsome signed a bill to allow California Collegiate athletes to be able to sign endorsement deals (where they could be compensated for their craft) and even hire an agent. This is to ensure that the top level athletes can get their money and to prevent schools from being under fire for overpaying or underpaying their student athlete
A study by the NCAA back in 2017 found that even some D3 sports like mens swimming on average can take up 45 hours of their week, 5 hours more than their 40 hours a week average spent on academics. Leaving only 83 hours a week left for sleep, social life, family time, and meals; which is only about 11 hours per day. Despite the rules of only 20 hours per week max of college athletics, it’s nearly impossible to make a name for yourself without doing double that. My point here is that with no real break given all day, these athletes should at least be compensated for their hard work and dedication.
In an article by the Washington Post they break down the NCAA’s yearly revenue. In a usual year they make about 700 million dollars from just march madness, 60 percent of which go out to the schools for equipment, uptake, and uniforms and such. That leaves 40 percent, or 280 million dollars a year that they take for themselves. My proposition would be to, at the very least, cut that number in half and use it to support their real moneymakers, the athletes. They wouldn’t have to necessarily pay each kid 60 or 70 grand, but just some extra spending, or rent money can go a long way in supporting college students.
As for former collegiate level athletes agreeing with me, I interviewed the Assistant Coach from the football team; Coach Saunders. He agreed with me, and in his own words said that, “Oftentimes athletics is what draws “regular” students to a university. Which in turn means more money for the university/college. I feel student athletes should be compensated.” Coach Saunders also thinks students should have salaries as well, “The school should pay them, and they should be able to collect endorsement money.”
Collegiate athletes are more than mature enough to get paid in both mine and Coach Saunders eyes, “in this country we allow students to work at 15 years old. To me that is saying that students are mature enough and smart enough to manage their own money” he said. However, Coach Saunders does think that there need to be systems that help them manage this income, “in the NCAA I think there needs to be some sort of program to help student athletes with managing their money.” He also thinks it would be unethical to not provide these services, “They have these types of programs in place for professional athletes. I don’t see any reason why they can’t be introduced at the collegiate level.”
In terms of fair levels of payment Coach Saunders had the idea of 1000 dollars for the whole season (given to them like a paycheck in biweekly payments), which I think is more than a fair amount. To Coach Saunders, everybody, “should get the same amount, because the best or more skilled players are going to be the ones targeted for endorsement deals”. Realistically, the endorsements are where these players will be making the big bucks, and only the better players get deals, thus solving the problem of fair and skill based pay. Furthermore, it would be a disservice to uphold this system of using collegiate level athletes for the school’s or NCAA’s betterment without giving them anything in return.