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The Case for Academic Credit in College Athletics, Research Paper Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1618

Research Paper

The topic of this research proposal is intended to be directed towards to a school’s administration.  The issue centers on the arguments for whether their sports teams should be paid and why. Through the analysis of these issues, the problems that are associated with the idea of this pay can be better considered through not only a statistical analysis but of an analysis of the associated value that can be attributed to the problem.  This associated value is essential in understanding how the advent of college athletics and the money that they bring to the universities are related.

The audience for the proposal is directed towards the administrators of the school.  Specifically, towards those who would be responsible for deciding if the athletes should be paid.  This would probably include those in charge of the athletic department as well as the head administrators of the school itself.  This includes those who would be in charge of the financial aspects of the problem.  In this way, the argument is essentially directed at those in a position to make administrative changes to how student-athletes are defined in eyes of the school that they are a part of.

Student athletes should be paid because the sports they take part in bring income and development to the schools that they play for.  The argument that they should not be due to their identities as students is essentially rooted in semantics, and the definition of a student-athlete that has been developed in order to keep them from receiving fair compensation.  By arguing that these individuals should not be paid, the teams should also indicate that they themselves should be non-profit.  By doing so, they would essentially base their arguments in the notion that they are unable to attribute pay to students.  However, this arguments are essentially a way for these institutions to make money off of their student athletes without having to pay them.

It has also been argued, however, that these athletes do not necessarily bring in as much money as is attributed to them, especially in less popular sports.  For this reason, it is important to approach the issue with common sense, as there are many interests at stake in the argument.  However, the fact that there are so many parties interested in the debate speaks of the importance that college sports have in society.  This importance has essentially led to the state of college sports as they are today.  This state is in a struggle to regulate itself and to define its position in the locations in which these teams play.

Sean Gregory argues in a Time cover story “It’s Time to Pay College Athletes” that colleges and universities, as well as many other entities, make a profit from their athletics, while the players themselves are denied the right to make a profit.  “Coaches, admissions offices and university alumni operations profit from the stars” (1).  In this way, while there are many different interests in the games, there are no groups that represent the player’s ability to make money and to not be exploited.  By this, the argument points towards the fact that many do, in fact, make money from college athletics.

Furthermore, Ron Katz, et al. argue in the paper “Nine Points To Consider Regarding the Payment of College Athletes” that the very idea of the term “student-athlete” was coined for the specific purpose of avoiding the classification of these individuals by the state as employees of the schools that they play for. “Identification as employees would, of course, give NCAA athletes rights such as workers’ compensation, unionization and wages” (1).  This argument centers on the historical representation of these student-athletes and how their designations were created in order to limit their ability to earn money for the work that they do and the economic benefits that they bring to their schools and communities.

Finally, Robert and Amy McCormick argue in their essay “The Myth of the Student-Athlete: The College Athlete as Employee” that these students are doing work that results in a net profit for the schools they play for, and should therefore be compensated for the work that they have done.  “The relationship between scholarship athletes and their colleges and universities can no longer be fairly characterized as anything other than  an employment relationship in which the athletes serve as employees and the institutions for which they labor as their employers” (79).  In this way, the basic idea of fair compensation necessitates the pay of these student athletes in order to provide them with payment for the work that they have provided to the school.

The proposal that is being presented appeals to not only economic values, but to those of freedom and justice as well.  The economic structure of the country is regarded as being based on fair pay for fair work.  Furthermore, there is an inherent justice in providing these individuals with compensation for the efforts that they have put in.

The values of capitalism are competitive, but in the United States, this idea has become essentially based on the idea that a person should receive a fair wage for the work that they have done.  While these students receive scholarships for the work that they have done, these are for the school that they are playing for.  If the student happens to be injured and cannot play anymore then they will not receive these scholarships, and so their agreement with the school is one sided in its compensation.

Furthermore, the idea of freedom is important to the argument for paying student athletes.  If students from low income areas are being prospected for these positions due to their need of scholarships, then there is not much freedom of choice involved, especially if they need to play the sport in order to receive a good education.  While they might be promised this education, a lot of their time and effort is spent focused on the sport itself, rather than the schoolwork that they are there for in the first place.

Finally, the most important aspect of the argument is centered on justice.  The idea of social justice is important in the case of paying student athletes.  Through their economic incentives, they play the sports, and so should be duly compensated for the work that they have done.  However, their positions are often taken advantage of in order to acquire the rights to their athletic abilities.  In this way, the schools are taking advantage of the social and economic situations of the students in order to gain profit for themselves.  The aspects of social justice should inform the actions that they take.

Through examination of the issue, a better understanding can be achieved that allows the objective observation of the problem.  In order to solve the problem, it is important to suspend judgment on the issue while considering both sides of the issue.  Through becoming informed by the various studies that have been done, a more informed position will have more authority than others.  This authority is essentially derived through the careful observation of the issue and the study of the problems that underlie it.  In this way, the issues that relate to the social justice involved can be utilized in order to argue for the fair compensation of these student athletes by their schools.

The main argument for not paying these student-athletes is that they are not professionals.  Due to the fact that they are students at the university, they cannot be considered professionals or employees and so cannot be compensated. “College athletes are not professionals and should therefore not be paid” (2).  This argument essentially stems from the idea that students should not be paid for school-based activities and operates under the assumption that these activities will ultimately be compensated by the credit-programs that the schools provide to pay for the student-athletes classes.

In his essay “College Athletes Should Not be Paid” Joe Posnanski argues that it is not necessarily the players who are bringing in this revenue.  “No college athletes is not about the players.  College athletics is for the players. (588)”  In this way, he argues that these teams do well more because communities connect to them on a personal level and invest in them then because of the players themselves.  The teams inspire local pride in the population and the athletic organizations are essentially based on this pride, rather than the skills of the players, who are not professionals.

Finally, it is argued that many sports that are a part of college athletics do not actually generate revenue.  Instead, money is generated by one or two sports, such as football or basketball, and allocated to the rest in order to maintain balance.  If only the students who played the sports that generated revenue were paid, then the system would be even more unfair.  M. Tyler Brown argues in “College Athletics Internships: The Case for Academic Credit in College Athletics” that “most college athletics teams generate little revenue or actually lose money” (1864).  In this way, it would, in fact, be unfair to provide compensation to students for their athletics due to the need to fairly pay all students, when not all of the teams actually bring revenue to the school.

Works Cited

Brown, M. Tyler. College Athletics Internsships: The Case for Academic Credit in College Athletics. American Law Review. 2011.

Gregory, Sean. Time Cover Story: It’s Time to Pay College Athletes. Time. Sep. 2013.

Katz, Ron., Vaugh, Gilleran. Nine Points to Consider Regarding the Payment of College Athletes. Institute of Sports Law and Ethics, Santa Clara University. 2013.

McCormick, Robert M., McCormick, Amy C. The Myth of the Student Athlete: The College Athlete as Employee. Washington Law Review. 2006.

Posnanski, Joe. College Athletes Should Not Be Paid. Sports Illustrated. 2012.

Salvadore, Damon. Top 10 Reasons Why College Athletes Should Not Be Paid. 2013.

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