John Calipari, Dabo Swinney, and Nick Saban are all successful collegiate coaches. But they also have something else in common–they get paid more money individually than all NCAA athletes COMBINED. Now granted, these coaches are successful for a reason–their strategies and recruitment along with their coaching styles lead them to a high win percentage and a chance at winning a national title. But under no circumstances does a coach of a collegiate program deserve to be paid $7-10 million a year (this number does not include endorsements and other forms of income coaches are allowed to receive).
As the chart above indicates, although the NCAA as a whole generates more revenue than the NFL and NBA, players’ salaries equate to zero, even though they are the real money makers. And the players are definitely not loving the fact that they aren’t being compensated for their labor–labor that sometimes consists of 40+ hours of practice every week. Cardale Jones, former Ohio State quarterback and upcoming NFL draft prospect, gave his take on the mistreatment of collegiate athletes by the NCAA.
Not only are the athletes outraged about their exploitation, there are many people in the sports industry that also believe players should be compensated. The Reason-Rupe April 2014 Poll found that 64% of the people they interviewed believed college athletes should be compensated in some way for the profit they are bringing the NCAA and their college. In the following audio file, Taylor Branch, author of the article “The Shame of College Sports,”compares the NCAA to “a classic cartel, making scads of money from the unpaid labor of young athletes.”
Now, naysayers of paying collegiate athletes would suggest that financially there is not enough money to distribute to all athletes. Many instances and absurd purchases counter their point, and suggest that if a college has enough money to install a $25 million scoreboard in their football stadium, they might have some spare change for their athletes.
Yes, colleges are building about $40 million weight rooms, but INSIST that there isn’t enough money to pay their players that happen to be raking in the dough for the university. Colleges, maybe if you didn’t spend the majority of the money you make on stupid stuff, trying to show that financially the athletic department is barely making a profit, maybe you could cut down your budget and incorporate the hard laboring athletes that are earning all this money for you.
Yes this would totally change the perspective of what it means to be a collegiate athlete, but it would also get rid of the notion that the NCAA is the equivalent to an illegal sweatshop that is exploiting their workers and not compensating them. Like Collin Cowherd briefly suggested in the above video, how much to pay each athlete of each sport could be totally up to the university, but the NCAA lifting the ban on compensating their “students, that are not employees” would be a step in the right direction towards rewarding student athletes for the grueling schedule the endure, and giving back some percentage that they are earning for the university.