Every time collegiate athletes enter the primetime of their respective seasons, someone makes the argument that they should be paid. Every time.
Throw in some numbers about how much money colleges, corporate sponsors and television networks make off athletics, call it modern day slavery, and you’ve got yourself an argument that’ll play into the emotions of anyone who made a bracket for March Madness.
So how would paying college athletes fix anything?
If people who make this argument are actually upset about how much money is being made off these athletes, why doesn’t anyone talk about the root of the problem? Instead, we just say we should throw more money into a business that’s already dominated by greedy companies and individuals.
Look at March Madness. They signed a television deal worth over $10 billion in 2010. Not a penny of that money went to the athletes. It might sound horrible, but why doesn’t our answer to this problem start with how much we allow television companies to profit off college sports?
The bad doesn’t only come from television; the NCAA has its issues too. Specifically when it comes to injuries and players losing their scholarships. There isn’t a lot of safety for college athletes who essentially lose their value once they are unable to perform at a certain level.
Anyone can talk about how big a professional contract is and make the comparison to the athletes who do not receive any of that money. That’s being lazy. And with a multi-billion dollar industry driven by us, the fans, we cannot afford to be lazy.
Sports fans who say collegiate athletes should be paid are looking at the situation with a magnifying glass. If that continues to happen, athletes are going to continue to be exploited even if we do throw them a little money for their efforts.
Let’s quit this attitude, sports fans. Let’s stop pretending that college athletes are any more important than anyone else who goes to college because that is simply not true. If anyone should be getting paid, it should be the engineering student who has to work a minimum wage job on top of going to school for one of the most time consuming majors out there.
The way college sports function needs to change. There are too many students out there who don’t have enough time to get their degree because they are spending so much time dedicated to their respective sports, just to tear their ACL and lose their scholarship. But if this is something that truly needs to change, there is no short-term fix in giving 18-year-old kids a paycheck.
So, stop it.
Make change happen in other ways. Attack the greedy people who make multi-billion dollar deals based on the corporate sponsorships and television deals. Stop being lazy. The athletes aren’t the only ones being exploited—you are as well, sports fans.