The Paid Student Athlete Dilemma (part1)

Posted: June 26, 2015

Updated: June 26, 2015

Should students get compensation for money they earn for their Universities?

College sports are a pillar of American society. People of many professions, their families and friends all have connections to Universities. Well known to US gambling news is the revenue created from college sports. Oftentimes, whole towns throughout the United States have a symbiotic relationship that depends on the revenue and jobs that come from the Universities that neighbor them.

● Student athletes are forced to not accept any forms of financial compensation
● UCLA tuitions is about USD 35,000 yet it makes USD 70 million from sports
● Colleges have established themselves almost the only way to enter the pros

Universities are conduits that provide services to communities throughout the country.

Out of the 2,618 universities in the United States, 1,100 of them participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s three different divisions in sports ranging from football to archery. Unfortunately most attention is given to basketball and football because they have the longest tradition and are the most popular professional sports. Some believe students should receive some financial compensation for their work as athletes and others do not. Let’s look at some circumstances which will warrant more consideration.

The University as a conduit to the pros

NFL Draft Packers 2013

Johnathan Franklin got his pro contract after a college career at UCLA

It has been argued that Colleges are traps that lure students into playing for them for little more than an education for free or at a reduced price. Apart from notables like Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett, few high school athletes advance directly to the pros bypassing college. The Universities have traditionally established themselves as the major artery for athletes who want to pursue professional careers.

And in doing so, they have come together in a “cartel” fashion to conceive and impose a set of draconian rules that are put in place to ensure that athletes work to produce as much revenue for their perspective institutions as humanly possible. Student athletes do get an ability to showcase their talents, but are enforced to refuse any payment or compensation outside the grounds of their scholarships. Although they generate billions in dollars yearly, they are restricted from receiving any of it.

Athletes can only keep profession aspiration alive as they try to get through University healthy enough to produce a life for themselves after University. Jonathan Franklin was a powerhouse player for UCLA rushing for over 4,000 yards setting the University record. Being a draw to any punter using online sportsbooks in the US, he was considered a “shoe in” for the National Football League (NFL). Franklin was from South Central Los Angeles.

South Central is a violent inner city area popularized by films such as “Boyz-n-the Hood” and rap groups like NWA. Growing up people emphasized survival throughout Franklin’s life. He never heard anyone speak of a college education, so Franklin didn’t look at the University as a way to get out of his neighborhood. Football was considered Franklin’s way out.

A Football player works more for the school than for his education

UCLA running back

Franklin could overcome his disadvantaged background and earn a college degree with his talent

Franklin started football at nine years old. After he excelled through high school, he was offered a full scholarship to UCLA. Realizing that college mattered, Franklin was focused on his degree and knew that his mother couldn’t afford one without football. At UCLA, Franklin routinely practiced every day from 6 am to 9 am, which included which included weight training. He would then have class from 10 am to 1 pm.

Franklin would engage in athletic meeting from 2 pm to 3.15 pm, practice again from 4 pm to 6 pm, tutoring sessions for two hours. After such a busy day, Franklin would still have homework to do after 9 pm. Any lack of performance, would result in getting cut from the team. Although it’s the same as being “fired” from a job, they weren’t given any financial compensation for their daily rigor.

If the amount of time applied to education was compared to the time for football, it might be arguable that Franklin wasn’t enrolled for an education. The tutoring was provided so Franklin could keep the minimal student grade average that was required by the NCAA to be eligible to perform. In between, Franklin had photo shoots for sports magazines and journal, video recording for commercial spots on television and computer graphic rendering sessions for Xbox and Playstation sports games.

Franklin’s image was used to promote UCLA. In 2012 UCLA made USD 71 million from football and basketball revenue. And that’s not including the amounts made from illicit gambling and sports betting. Although this money paid for 19 other sports, staff, coaches, administrators, Franklin’s education was about USD 28,000 a year although about USD 35,000 including extra fees is closer to accurate.

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