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Pay for Play: Should college athletes get a cut of the millions of revenue in sports?

November 30, 2011

Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated.

In October more than 300 current football and men’s basketball players sent a petition to the NCAA demanding a cut of the millions in annual revenue from those sports.  But should college athletes should be paid to perform?

“It is a complicated situation,” said Josh Wick, the assistant coach of Elon University’s women’s basketball team.  “Obviously there is money that is being made that these student athletes never see, I believe that these students commit to being a student athlete and in return they get a great education for free and they get a full scholarship.  In a lot of ways you could look at that as payment.”

Wick said that the situation would reshape the way college athletics operated as a business and possibly ruin the last pure form of athletics.

“I think that they could loosen the rules to benefits players received, but I don’t know if paying them is the solution.  I think you can come up with ways to pad whatever they are already getting as far as incentives and solutions. I just feel that kind of corrupts the game in the college scene, as college athletics is seen as the last true form of truly competitive athletics that aren’t professional.  It boils down to being a business.”

“I just feel that kind of corrupts the game in the college scene, as college athletics is seen as the last true form of truly competitive athletics that aren’t professional.  It boils down to being a business.” -Josh Wick, Elon University’s assistant coach for women’s basketball

Sports Illustrated published a story “Pay For Play” where they outlined the realities of college’s spending money on athletes.  They found that schools such as Oregon and Louisville would easily find it in their athletic budget to offer a salary, but the majority of schools such as Ole Miss and San Jose State would need to cut expenses significantly to pay athletes even a nominal amount.

The collage in Varsity Sports Grill showcasing student athletes. Photo by Sheryl Davis.

Niko Fraser, a junior at Elon University has played for Elon’s baseball team for three years.  He currently is receiving a 75 percent scholarship to the school that is division 1 and ranked in the top 25 baseball teams for colleges.  Fraser estimates that he spends 50 plus hours a week for baseball related activities in season, and 40 plus hours out of season.

“I would like to get paid just because the extent of our workload is a lot,” said Fraser.  “We have a lot more than I think some people believe we do, we are always lifting always or in study hall.  My selfish side would be yes, but if I step back objectively I don’t think there would be a way to regulate that.”

Jack Wooten, the assistant men’s basketball coach for Elon, also stated that payment could bring up tricky situations.

“Either way I think that unfair is the word to be used,” said Wooten. “It is interesting to see that a lot of the revenue get in the hands of people not playing the sports.  I think some of the student athletes need more than they are getting.  You can see where a lot of the money is going and it is not in the pockets of the athletes.”

“You can see where a lot of the money is going and it is not in the pockets of the athletes.”- Jack Wooten, the assistant men’s basketball coach for Elon

Mike Kuczynski, who works for the office of athletics media relations thought the situation could help players who couldn’t afford college without athletic scholarships.

“I think that schools should definitely pay,” said Kuczynski. “If schools wants to spend the dollars and students are coming from low income places then the NCAA is doing everything they can to get them to stay.  I think all the money that schools are willing to give them is good.”

Click here to read more about “Pay for Play” on ESPN.


Laura Beckstead, sophomore at Elon, speaks about how college athletics shaped her father’s lifestyle

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