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According to an article in The Washington Times, The National College Players Association reported in 2013 that 86% of all college athletes in the United States are living below the poverty line (Armstrong par. 5). Most of this poverty is attributed to most college athletes not receiving a full ride scholarship, meaning meals are not provided but must come from the athletes’ pockets. For these players who have no income and no ability to work, workouts, team practices, and other team related activities become a real struggle to get through while worrying about their next meal. This injustice is just one example of the maltreatment that hundreds of thousands of college athletes face across the country. College athletes should be paid with more than a scholarship because tuition is not enough for the money they earn for their school, because athletes are doing work without any sort of legal wage, and because the talent they provide accompanied with their lack of compensation invites millions of illegally paid dollars to these athletes, costing many people their jobs and freedoms.
Though schools pay tuition for college athletes, tuition is not enough to cover all things athletes need. For example, former Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and All-American point guard for the University of Connecticut said, ” There are hungry nights when I go to bed and I’m starving,”  when he was asked if he felt like a paid employee (Author par. 1). Typical of most college athletes, Napier received a scholarship to go to the university, but it was not full-ride, so it did not include basic necessities like room and board. Because of it not being included, these expenses likely had to come out of Napier’s own pocket, so he could not afford to eat a meal that provides basic nutritional value. When athletes cannot eat enough, they cannot perform at their best. In addition, Economist Richard G. Sheehan calculated college football wages per hour for players and coaches by using time put in as well as the yearly salary. He found that coaches with a 1000 hour workload per year made from  $250 to $1000 per hour. In comparison to coaches, the players made their money through tuition with an average workload of $7 per hour (Eitzen par. 20).  This amount of money that the student-athletes make per hour is nothing compared to the work they put in. Morning, afternoon, and nighttime practices are just some of the grueling things these athletes do, and to be so under compensated by only getting paid tuition is absolutely unfair. Also, in 2013, Julie Heath, Ph.D. said, “The all expenses-paid scholarship doesn’t really cover all the expenses. The average football or basketball player faces a shortfall of about $3200 per year” (Heath, par. 5) Finally, Douglas S. Looney, writer for Sports Illustrated, explains how regular students are allowed to have a job and make money however and whenever they please, but athletes can only during major school breaks, like summer. However, college sports are highly competitive and are practicing over summer, so having a job is not a really a reality for these student athletes (Looney, par. 6). Even though college athletes devote so much of their day to their sports and teams, even if they need money to do something for themselves, college athletes cannot make any money by having a job. This inability to have a job is especially unfair when scholarship costs are not “full-ride” or covering all expenses, and the players cannot have an opportunity to work and make money to support themselves.
College athletes make such large amounts of money for their school, yet they are denied the ability to receive any of the money, even though they are the ones earning it. For example, D. Stanley Eitzen, professor of sociology at Colorado State University, said that after an in-depth analysis of attendance boost, TV revenue, and making the NCAA tournament each year, Patrick Ewing single-handedly earned more than $12 million for his college, Georgetown University. After spending four years at the school, Ewing earned a scholarship total of $48,600 (Eitzen, par. 19). The money raised by Ewing obviously vastly exceeds the money money he was paid. The inequality in what the athletes are paid and what they raise for the school needs to be increased so that the players’ revenue is closer, if not the same, as what they produce. To add on, New York Times writer Joe Nocera said that CBS signed a 14-year, $10.8 billion dollar contract for television rights to the N.C.A.A. basketball tournament. Coaches across the country benefitted in millions as a result of this television deal because schools profited and were able to pay their coaches a lot more. However, the athletes, the one doing the work for the deal to take place, could not even accept a simple gift such as free food (Nocera, par. 4). If there were no talented, hard-working college basketball players, the N.C.A.A. tournament would not mean much and no one would watch it, no companies would pay money to sponsor it, and there would be no television companies vying for the ability to broadcast it. However, these basketball players get nothing to spare in terms of money for their hard work. Nocera also states, “NCAA revenue from annual three-week March Madness tournament: $70 million” (Nocera, par. 36). $70 million made in a three-week time span is an extremely large amount of money for any company or business. It is perceived that, in America, the workers who earned this money should be paid a portion of this money. However, the players receive no wage for their work and are paid only with a scholarship. Finally, author and economist, when talking about college athletes’ rights, Tom Kruckemeyer states, “While the attempt by the Northwestern University football team to unionize in 2014/2015 did not succeed, the process legally established that they were in an employer/employee relationship. In America, employees have rights.” (Kruckemeyer, par. 12) The attempt to unionize by the Northwestern football team was a large step towards college athletes beginning to be recognized as employees working for an employer. They were not granted the ability to unionize, and had they have had the ability to do so, the players would have been able to negotiate for better compensation through collective bargaining.
The lack of compensation for highly-talented athletes turns into millions of illegally paid dollars going to those athletes, eventually costing jobs, freedoms, and N.C.A.A. eligibility. For example, when talking about legal complaints in a recent court case of colleges and representatives of colleges paying players, New York Times writer Marc Tracy states, “These complaints depict a thriving black market for teenage athletes, one in which coaches, financial advisors, and shoe company employees trade on the trust of players and exploit their inability to be compensated because of N.C.A.A. amateurism rules” (Tracy, par. 4). Because the college athletes cannot be paid, they turn to the only thing that can keep themselves, their families, and the ones around them happy, and that is accept money and gifts from adults around their sport. In addition, Tracy also says “The vision of what Kim United States attorney for the southern district of New York called ‘the dark underbelly of college basketball’ led to arrests of nearly a dozen people, including four Division 1 assistant coaches and the global marketing director for Adidas Basketball” (Tracy, par. 7). Had paying college athletes been allowed, all of the people mentioned would be fine to do their business. However, the vastly underpaid athletes still need money, so these coaches and businessmen illegally give them money. This all ends up in a mess in which 12 people are arrested and are facing prison sentences. Also, Tracy explains that one of the last of the complaints in the court case charges three assistant coaches. These coaches were Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State University, Emanuel Richardson of the University of Arizona, and Tony Bland of USC. They were all charged with accepting bribes to steer players to different shoe companies, and have all been suspended indefinitely (Tracy par. 15). Not only did these assistant coaches tarnish the reputations of their schools, but also they ruined their own. In addition to being suspended indefinitely and most likely fired, these assistant coaches, if not facing prison time, will likely not be able to get another job anytime soon because of these infractions. Finally, Tracy says that earlier this year, Jim Gatto, a senior Adidas executive, agreed to pay $100,000 to the family of a highly recruited high school player in order to influence where he went to college. The exact player and school were left unspecified by the court, but University of Louisville matched the description and recently signed a $160 million contract with Adidas. (Tracy, par. 9) Since the report on this court finding, Rick Pitino, the longtime coach for the Louisville Cardinals, was fired for his involvement in the corruption. The large sum of money, while still undervalued for the athlete, is a significant amount of money. This report shows a perfect example of how shoe companies align with schools to line the players’ pockets with money before even beginning to play for the school.
Opponents of paying college athletes more than a scholarship argue that athletes are paid in the education they receive. While on the surface athletes seem to be getting a good education, in reality, they are not. Eitzen explains that Dexter Manly, all-pro defense end, testified to a senate committee about his educational experience while playing football at Oklahoma State University. He said he had left the school illiterate after four years. He mostly attributed this to practices and workouts being put before everything else (Eitzen, par. 37). Though schools claim to offer opportunities for these athletes to receive the best education in the world, in reality it is not that. Practices, games, and other sports-related activities are put at the forefront of the student’s schedule, with classes and exams becoming mostly an afterthought. In addition, Heath says that a popular argument for not paying college athletes for their work is that they are paid with free tuition. However, the fact is that big revenue sports make tens of millions of dollars, and mere thousands of dollars of tuition or “education” is not enough (Heath, par. 5). Education, or the chance to receive it, not accounting for rigorous schedules because of sports, is worth a lot. However, claiming it is as valuables a rightful share in tens of millions of dollars is not as easy to say.
Despite many efforts by the N.C.A.A. to keep the money these athletes make in their pockets and to give back only some of it in the form of scholarships, the increase of compensation for these highly talented and hard-working athletes is a must. With 86% of college athletes living below the poverty line, it is impossible to not see that a change in the way college athletes are compensated needs to occur soon. These athletes have spent thousands of hours training and dedicating their lives to the sports they play, and the only possible fair way to compensate them for the money they bring into their universities is to pay them a fair share. For example, the same amount of money given to the coach could be given to the star players, and so forth. These athletes need the income to feed themselves and to have a larger reason to stay in school while partaking in the rigorous schedule of their sport.

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