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Student Athletics – Just another On-Campus Job

Attending college can place a daunting financial burden on students and their families. The cost of tuition, books, room and board and other necessities is often more than the average family can afford. Many students take on-campus jobs which allow them to ease the financial burden of getting an education. Universities offer athletics programs in which students can participate for fun or as a stepping stone to professional athletics. Football and basketball games tend to bring in a staggering amount of revenue from ticket sales, concession sales, and donations from alumni.

For example, The University of Notre Dame boasted nearly $40 million in revenue in 2004 (Donahue, 2005). Due to rules that do not allow amateur athletes to be paid, the individual members of Notre Dame’s football team did not receive any payment, even though the football players were doing all of the work. Student athletics should be considered a campus job and players should be compensated accordingly. Opponents of paid student athletes often cite fairness as a reason for their disapproval. Wealthier schools would be able to pay top dollar for student athletes, which would prevent other schools from becoming contenders.

In his article, “The Other Side: College Athletes Shouldn’t Be Paid,” Dan Cassavaugh states that, “Big name schools like Duke, Texas, North Carolina and USC would be able to pay exorbitant amounts of money to get the best athletes to play,” (Cassavaugh, 2006). However, if pay for student athletes was regulated and standardized between universities, it would be entirely fair. USC would have to pay its football players the same salary as every smaller university. During the sports season, athletes do not have time to work. They are expected at practice, games, and promotion events.

They need to be compensated for their time just as much as cafeteria employees and tutors. Athletes often receive full scholarships to college. A 2001 survey found that 54% of college students believe that student athletes should be paid. The reasons behind this opinion are that the athletes generate the revenue and deserve to be compensated, it would eliminate illegal payments, and the athletic scholarships rarely cover enough of the average living expenses (Schneider, 2001). Those students who opposed payments were concerned about the source of the revenue and cutbacks to other departments in order to pay the athletes.

Eddie Rogers suggests in his article “Roundup” that payment to student athletes could be designed as a loan against future earnings in professional sports. The athletes would still get paid, and later they would repay the money, avoiding increased costs to non-athletic students (Rogers, 1996). Not every athlete succeeds in earning a place in the NBA, NFL or MLB, so the loans would be specifically designated to those athletes who are most likely to have a successful professional career. The issue of fairness should apply to non-athletes and athletes fairly.

As Kelly Whiteside points out, coaches who lead the most successful teams are often compensated with million-dollar salaries, and college bookstores often sell merchandise with the names and team numbers of team members without any compensation to the athletes themselves (Whiteside, 2004). Universities make a significant profit from sports, yet the athletes who do all of the work do not see a dime of those profits. Students who work in the typical campus jobs (offices, cafeteria, bookstore, etc. ) contribute to their university’s bottom line and are compensated accordingly.

Student athletics should be considered an on-campus job in which the “employees” receive a fair wage. Works Cited: Cassavaugh, D (2006 Apr 15). The other side: college athletes shouldn’t be paid. Retrieved April 19, 2009, from Imprint Magazine Web site: http://www. imprintmagazine. org/sports_and_recreation/other_side_college_athletes_shouldnt_be_paid Donahue, K (2005 Aug 3). Cha-ching: top ten football revenue schools. Retrieved April 19, 2009, from Fanblog. com Web site: http://www. fanblogs. com/ncaa/005403. php Rogers, E. (1996, June 13). Roundup.

The Washington Times, p. 3. Retrieved April 19, 2009, from Questia database: http://www. questia. com/PM. qst? a=o&d=5001732972 Schneider, R. G. (2001). College Students’ Perceptions on the Payment of Intercollegiate Student-Athletes. College Student Journal, 35(2), 232. Retrieved April 19, 2009, from Questia database: http://www. questia. com/PM. qst? a=o&d=5001036188 Whiteside, K (2004 Aug 31). College athletes want cut of action. Retrieved April 19, 2009, from USAToday. com Web site: http://www. usatoday. com/sports/2004-08-31-top-ten-number-7_x. htm

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