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Time for an option to pay college athletes

The ongoing debate about whether to pay NCAA athletes is still just that: ongoing.

However, recent events regarding the self-promotion of current athletes has encouraged a stronger conversation regarding the, “pay for play” debacle.

Old arguments have resurfaced and new ones have developed– including my own.

As compared to any hardworking American, student athletes should be compensated for their work. But I’m not arguing to pay all NCAA student athletes– including myself.

I’m simply arguing for universities to have the option to do so.

In certain situations, student athletes make millions of dollars for their schools and billions for other corporations. Since they are providing a service that makes money for an organization, they should be properly compensated.

The NCAA makes $1 billion annually. CBS and Turner Broadcasting make more than $1 billion during March Madness games. Athletic conferences make millions in payouts from the NCAA when their teams progress further in the tournament.

So doesn’t it make sense for these companies to pay their employees?

Judge Claudia Wilken of the United States District Court in Oakland, Calif. seems to agree.

Wilken ruled in the O’Bannon case that universities can offer football players in the top 10 conferences and all Division I men’s basketball players trust funds to be opened after graduation. This gives the players an opportunity to earn their share of the billions of dollars in revenue from both television companies and the NCAA.

The NCAA wants to keep its athletes amateurs like they always have been, because when the organization first began, it wasn’t making billions of dollars from them. With the high revenue brought in nowadays, the NCAA should adjust and compensate its players accordingly.

The main argument against paying players is they are already compensated with scholarships. Although this is true, the amount doesn’t always equal the job description.

According to an NCAA study, college athletes spend an average of 40 hours per week in their sport alone. An employee is considered full-time for working at least 30 hours per week. So being a student athlete is considered a full-time job.

Universities should have the option to pay a student athlete an hourly rate based off this study, assuming they clock in around 40 hours per week.

Now comes the issue: how much?

Most arguments fall at this point because people think in order to satisfy critics, there must be some sort of finite and equal amount with pay rates. However, that’s not how scholarships work.

For example, one athlete may receive $7,000 in scholarships while another receives a full scholarship. As much as it hurts to hear, the amount of scholarship an athlete receives is related to his or her worth on the team to an extent.

So similarly with how scholarships work, how much a player should earn should be based on what the coach deems fit for that player.

However, there should be a cap similar to how full tuition is considered the limit with a scholarship. The NCAA should have the authority to figure out a reasonable limit for college athletes to earn hourly.

For example, a reasonable limit is something around $15 hourly, which means they will be making, at the most, around $30,000 yearly. Then the university and coaches can adjust accordingly during the offseason when the players aren’t putting in as many hours.

Student athletes can also earn money through commercial endorsements and appearances. While athletes should not be able to sign a professional contract with a company, they should still be compensated for jersey sales or for any type of promotional photo shoot or appearance.

As a student athlete, it’s assumed that I have a bias with this debate. But because my scholarship does not cover my full tuition, I would more than likely not be eligible for pay.

The university’s athletic department should have the ultimate decision whether or not to pay a player. In my opinion, not every NCAA athlete should be paid.

But universities should at least have the option.

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