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Do college athletes deserve compensation for playing on a team?

By Samuel Lyons

The debate about student athletes receiving compensation for their playing time has been argued by talking heads on television and in print for more than two decades. Anyone who has paid attention to the debate knows the two sides that are arguing.

Debaters for athletes being compensated feel that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a national body that takes advantage of the talent of amateur athletes by making millions off of them in revenue.

The argument against athlete compensation is that the students already received enough benefits for their gifted talents and paying them is neither practical nor possible.

John Brill, a columnist from the Shirley Povich Center of Sports Journalism at the University of Maryland stated in a 2013 article that the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, “March Madness,” generates more than $770 million a year.

The NCAA generates $6 billion a year from men’s basketball and football alone. This is more than the National Basketball Association (NBA), but the NBA player gets paid millions from a percentage that the league makes from revenue.

The head coaches at big name schools for football and basketball receive nice pay days as well.

Former University of Texas head football coach, Mack Brown earned an annual salary of more than $5 million. The annual payment of scholarships to players on the team was just over $3 million.

Marc Edelman, professor of law at Zeckilin School of Business at Baruch College, pointed out in his article for “US News” that the highest paid employees in 40 of the 50 states are head coaches of basketball and football programs at state universities.

The stark contrast is that a study by the National College Players Association found that 85% of college athletes are considered to be below the poverty line.

Zack Darlin, the senior college football writer for the “The Bleacher Report” made his argument against athlete compensation in his 2013 article.

Darlin reports that an athletic scholarship can pay between $20,000 and $50,000 a year. The athletes who receive scholarships have an advantage over other students because they have no burden of student debt after they graduate.

In 2013, the NCAA made $800 million in revenue off of their “March Madness” television coverage.

96% of the revenue was spent reinvesting into the schools that participated in the tournament.

In 2011, the NCAA introduced a $2,000 stipend to help college athletes with the cost of college. The stipend was eventually pulled because the NCAA had too many legal issues with Title IX laws and finding ways for athletes to keep their amateur statuses with the stipends.

The argument about what an student athlete should be rewarded with for their talents and academics will not be coming to an end anytime soon.

Both arguments presented in the argument make good points.

The fact that has to be accepted is that this issue is a complicated problem that will have to take a lot of thought and possibly compromise for a solution.

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