A person wakes up every morning, spends 1 to 2 hours per day getting dressed and ready for work, then spends 3 to 4 hours per day doing their job, and then finally must spend 3 to 4 hours preparing for the next day’s job. In life, normal working people go through this drill in order to earn a living, support their families, and build a career. Day after day college athletes provide the same effort, but for conditioning, game preparation, studying, and attending classes. In the working world, individuals have their skill set and a job that compensates them according to their performance. In college athletics, the students have a skill, however the only compensation they receive for their efforts is a college education while the institutions that they attend make millions of dollars annually from game attendance, merchandise sales, and television contracts that are the result of the participant’s efforts. College athletes are not compensated fairly for the work they provide, the risk of injury and loss of future earnings, and the huge profits that they help to generate.
We have tried to determine the true definition of sports throughout Political Science 101. It has become evident that college athletics is no longer under the realm of “play.” In Huizinga’s “Homo Ludens” he defines the meaning of play as a “voluntary action,” in which players are free, and separate, and play for their autotelic instincts. Play has evolved, and Huizinga’s argument is outdated. As Dunning states in his article “the Dynamics of Modern Sport,” “sport is being transformed from a marginal, lowly valued institution which, for many people, seems to have religious or quasi-religious significance.” In Giamatti’s “Take Time for Paradise,” he agrees that the world of sports has changed. Giamatti agrees that “sports can be viewed as a kind of popular or debased religion, in the sense that the most intense feelings are brought to bear.”
Student athletes are balancing a full time job with a full time education. These athletes deserve to be compensated fairly for their work. For example, college football is now the third most popular sport. This is evident with Alabama, a college football team that makes $143.3 in athletic revenues, more than 25 of the 30 NBA teams. The NCAA ultimately produces $11 billion dollars in annual revenue. That is more than the NBA and the NHL, two thriving professional sports.
While the role that sports plays in our society has changed, the NCAA has not evolved with the times. College athletics have transformed into a game much similar to professional sports. Today college athletics have a rabid fan base, immense TV exposure, profitable merchandise sales, and monster television contracts. These athletes no longer function as amateurs, and this definition of “amateurism” must be redefined. President Teddy Roosevelt formed the NCAA in 1906 in order to implement needed safety measures in the sport of college football. However, it is now 2014, and the NCAA must adapt to the changing times. It seems obvious that putting in 43.3 hours per week in order to generate millions of dollars in revenue should not be classified as amateur athletics. Ron Katz, Isac Vaughn and Mike Gille say it best: “the concept of amateurism can and should be re-assessed so that it does not become obsolete in light of changed circumstances, such as the amount of money generated by some college sports and the level of commitment many of today’s student-athletes must make in order to succeed.”
The significance of a college education is not something to take lightly. The total cost of an education, considering school, room, board, books, and spending money can be anywhere between thirty thousand to sixty thousand dollars per year depending on the University. These athletes deserve the scholarships that are provided, however, these scholarships alone are not fair compensation given the millions of dollars that these athletes generate for the institutions that they represent and the potential risk to future earning potential if they were to get injured during their time at school. There needs to be a system that lets the students participate with the university to share in the revenue that they worked so hard to generate. It is a simple principle that a fair wage needs to be paid for an honest day’s work regardless as to whether a person works in a factory, an office, or on the playing field. College athletes deserve to be compensated for the work they provide, the risks inherent in the job, and the revenue that they help to generate for the institutions that they represent.
Blog 6, Section 8