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Paying College Athletes: Controversy Over The Ncaa

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association or NCAA has aged more than a century since its commencement in 1906. Similar to the purpose of this organization today, it was established to protect student-athletes. However, in 1906, the organization began as a result of numerous deaths among college and amateur players. It is evident that the NCAA was once an organization that truly cared about the athletes involved; the founding fathers even advocated for athletes using their talents to make a living in the offseasons. Now, the NCAA “protects” students from being exploited, cheated or even bribed through form 08-3a. Every year, thousands of student-athletes across the United States sign the NCAA’s form 08-3a which takes away their right to receive payment for the use of their name and image. Like other college students, these athletes dedicate majority of their time and efforts towards their college classes. However, student-athletes can have up to 20 hours of additional required athletic activities a week. This doesn’t include required team meals, volunteer work and community engagement coaches force athletes to be apart of. As a fan of college athletics for years and now a player of college athletics, I have seen first hand how impossible it is to live the college life without financial compensation. The NCAA and universities involved are a lucrative organization that labels student athletes as amateurs as a means to avoid compensating these athletes.

The NCAA is a lucrative organization; it is making absurd amounts of money by classifying athletes as amateurs. For the past five years, the NCAA has made nearly a billion dollars per year in revenue from college athletics. The most financially successful college sports, men’s basketball and football, generate astonishing sums of money. For instance, the NCAA basketball tournament, March Madness, earns somewhere in the range of $800 to 900 million in revenue. A college team has the potential to bring millions for their conference and in turn for their school. Yet, the players who put in the work have the possibility to earn nothing. It isn’t fair to the athletes who are being taken advantage of by the big business involved with the NCAA. This doesn’t account for monetary gain related to clothing sales and other licensing deals. In addition, the NCAA has licensing deals that have been estimated to be more than four billion dollars. This brings up the question, where is all this money going? Universities and coaches flourish from million dollar salaries and endorsement deals while the players earn nothing.

College coaches’ salaries are even more mind boggling. Mike Kryzewiski, also known as Coach K, of the Duke Blue Devils’ basketball team earns a salary of about nine million dollars a year. In total, the Duke Basketball program generates about $33 million a year. This means Coach K is being paid more than 27% of the entire programs revenue. How can the coach “earn” so much money while the players, who are actually on the court grinding for successful receive nothing? No, college athletes shouldn’t earn million dollar salaries, but even the smallest bit helps. Why is this controversial? In big business, corporate CEOs don’t even receive such a high percentage of profits. For example, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple would earn approximately $67 billion if big business corporation’s revenues were divided up in a similar fashion. College sports are corrupt, Coach K is probably an outstanding coach but Duke is recognized as one of the best college basketball programs that gets players who are the best of the best and often go pro after one year. They also are a contender to win the NCAA basketball tournament each year. The NCAA forces universities to recognize their athletes as amateurs. It is inconceivable how the NCAA permits advertisers, arena operators, concession owners, athletic gear manufacturers, retailers and media masterminds, along with coaches and university officials, to profit millions while the athletes can’t receive anything because of the amateur label forced upon them. 

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Paying College Athletes: Controversy Over the NCAA. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 28, 2023, from
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