OT: Writing a Speech on how NCAA Should Pay Student-Athletes

Submitted by CincyWolverine on January 31st, 2011 at 3:17 PM

So here's the deal.  I have a speech due to present tomorrow for my composition class and I am writing it on how the NCAA should pay, or at least give a stipend to its student-athletes. My reason for posting here is to ask for additional suggestions or reasons as to why student-athletes should be paid.

The only reason I know I will use is the most obvious one, that universities and colleges make millions off of some players in exchange for paying for a comparably small fee for tuition, room and board.

My first thought on who I could talk to for more suggestions was this blog, so anyone have anything for me?



January 31st, 2011 at 3:22 PM ^

Off the top of my head i'd guess that student athletes are basically paid around $40k a year already with room, board, tuition etc. Its going to be a tough sell to say that they should make more....


January 31st, 2011 at 4:58 PM ^

If you count it as in state tuition, the University website estimates total costs at around $25,000 for room, board, supplies and "miscellaneous."  That's the upperclassman rate.

If you estimate that the players are receiving the drastically more valuable out of state tuition, it's close to 50.

Now, for the 90% of student athletes who provide a skill that holds no value (at least as it pertains to revenue generation), that 25-50 grand is basically a gift.  It's going to be tough to argue that they should be paid more because it's tough to argue that they should be paid anything at all.

I don't know what a sensible solution is, and I won't attempt to make myself the arbiter of  what anyone's salary ought to be, but for Denard Robinson and some golfer or tennis player to be "paid" equally is nothing less than asinine.

James Burrill Angell

January 31st, 2011 at 4:59 PM ^

From a litigator's mouth to your ears. Pointers for the order and arguments:

1) Lead with your best punch (which sadly is the argument you made)

2) Counter punch next - You have to bring up the counter-arguments and then say why they don't make sense. In this case:

   a) As said above, they already get a scholarship, room and board worth quite a bit.

   b) Your argument is that athletes makes the school millions? Is that true? Or is it that football players and Men's basketball players make millions which is then spent on the other sports that, on their own don't generate revenue (ergo the name non-revenue sports). so:

     i) Do you only pay the football players and basketball players. But you can't because that would violate Title IX or

     ii) do you pay players for revenue sports more than those who pay non-revenue. 

   c) How the heck do you do this across the board when many athletic departments actually lose money (we don't happen to be one of them because of the football seat licenses but only because of that. If Bill Martin hadn't have started the seat licenses, we would still be in the red as we were when Tom Goss was fired and Bill Martin was hired.

3) Give the remainder of your arguments for doing it in order of quality.


Now in general:

1) Talk about defending the indefensible. Tough topic to argue.

2) Never leave crap for the last minute. Good lesson to learn while you're still in school. Hard as hell lesson to learn once your job is on the line. Learn now. Remember it. Live by it.


January 31st, 2011 at 3:24 PM ^

Go ahead and pay them with the cost of their tuition, room, and board with no access to the education at the university, and have them find their own place to live and pay for their own meals and expenses.  If they want to be paid, go ahead, and then just let them pay their own way like everyone else at the school.

Also be sure to note how every non-revenue sport will get hit from the reduced funds available so that players can be paid.


January 31st, 2011 at 3:24 PM ^

Maybe universities with powerhouse football programs can afford to pay their athletes, but what about small schools that are barely making a profit? There's no way they could afford to do that.  And when you say "athlete", that means every single athlete on campus needs to get paid. 


January 31st, 2011 at 3:24 PM ^

I hate this argument. Yes, its a scholarship is small compared to what the university is making, but its huge compared to what they would get otherwise. These kids are given the opprotunity (if they take it) to get some of the best degrees in america FOR FREE.


January 31st, 2011 at 3:51 PM ^

A tribal-tatt'd trainer in a schlubby gym can run $60-90 per hour. These kids have access to the best facilities and 'round the clock training advice from the best in the business. Not to mention the coaches themselves - the real world cost of an hour of Saban's (he only takes souls, no cash) / Mattison's / Stoops' time is substantial. It's one of a kind and can't be duplicated. On down the line for assistants.
<br>There's a gigundus post on this issue back from late summer/ early fall on this site, I believe someone was doing a thesis. Search and you shall find arguments pro and against


January 31st, 2011 at 3:24 PM ^

This might be for the "against" reasoning, but if you can come up with examples of WHO to pay, and how much to pay them... then you'll have an answer. 

The most obvious case of individual athletes earning their schools money in money-making sports is Jersey Sales. How much did Cam Newton earn Auburn on the field itself? ticket sales? Etc? that number is really hard to quantify. For example... Michigan may have gotten a few more people to come to games this year who wanted to see Denard... but we still had 110,000 anyway, it'd be hard to quantify who bought tickets to see him play.

However how many #2 Auburn Jerseys (or #16 Michigan, or #2 OSU, etc.) jerseys were sold IS easily quantifiable. If you want to argue that point... that'd be easy to do. Maybe athletes in money-making sports get 1% of the net revenue from sales of their numbered jersey? 

But then again, if athletes share a number do they split the cash? 

Just a thought


January 31st, 2011 at 3:48 PM ^

I'm personally in favor of allowing athletes to make money off of their likeness and off of jersey sales. You're right saying that ticket sales are impossible to determine; Michigan Stadium has been sold out since before I was born, I doubt it was specifically Denard, Tate, Sheridan, Henne and on down the list.

However it's pretty easy to tell how many #16 jerseys were sold this year compared to last. The compensation logistics would be tough to come by, but much more complicated things are dealt with in the corporate world and in professional sports.

Personally I think they should get a cut of the jersey sales and video game liscensing (probably a thing or two I'm leaving out, but that's the basic idea). This rewards the high profile athletes by giving them a cut of money they generate and won't punish a third string lineman by removing the scholarship system.



January 31st, 2011 at 4:06 PM ^

Good Idea, then SEC boosters can hide their pay offs under the guise of buying jerseys.

SEC Recruiter - "Cam we can assure you that our boosters will buy 100 jerseys per week and you make $5 per shirt."

Recruit - "State U said they would guarantee 200 jerseys.  I'll need at least 200 jerseys per week to commit."

SEC Recruiter - "Done deal."


January 31st, 2011 at 5:32 PM ^

I think his point was under that scenario, a recruit would always go to the highest bidder. Is that what you want?

And what happens when said booster doesn't fulfill his end of the bargain? What if a booster convinces some 5 star guy to come to Michigan saying he'll give him a job for 100k a year as the face of his car dealership and it goes out of business after his freshman year? Does the kid leave Michigan for better pay? I wouldn't blame him if he did since he only picked M for the $$$ but I'd probably stop watching college football once that started.


January 31st, 2011 at 6:04 PM ^

Well, let me ask you this:

If I chose a school based on having family or friends nearby that would employ me at a high wage while attending school based on some value I had, would that be a detriment to the college system?

What philosophical difference is there between me doing that and say, Denard or Mike Hart?

Essentially many people believe that it's fine for one of us and not another.


January 31st, 2011 at 3:26 PM ^

Make sure to describe, in beautiful detail, the money fairy that will magically visit all Division I colleges and make their athletic departments profitable enough to afford to pay all  scholarship athletes on campus - as opposed to the status quo, in which the vast majority of them lose money as it is.  


Mitch Cumstein

January 31st, 2011 at 3:29 PM ^

Are you proposing all Student-Athletes get paid?  Or just the ones on teams that bring in (measurable) revenue for the University?

Something I might add is that the student-athletes are representing the university positively and doing so requires a commitment (to class and sport) at a level where it would be hard to maintain a job (at least in-season), due to practice, travel, meetings, etc.


Edit: Before I get killed here, I'm of the opinion that student-athletes should NOT get paid outside of scholarship and equipment expenses and what not.  I'm just trying to help the OP on his speech.

I realize there are all kinds of holes in my point above.


January 31st, 2011 at 3:26 PM ^

But you are wrong on this issue.  Most athletic departments around the country lose money.  Even at schools with revenue generating football and/or basketball programs, that money is used to finance the other sports that don't make money.  The model you suggest requires a world where profit-generating sports are the only ones that exist on college campuses, or a drastic reduction in the number of schools capable of competing, or a dramatic reorganization of the coaching pay structure to funnel some of that money toward student athletes,

You would have a much more compelling argument if you said that the amateur status regulations should be lifted so that those athletes who would benefit from the kind of stipiend you advocate could profit from endorsements, agent retainer fees, etc. without the school having to fork over that kind of dough that most don't have at their disposal.


January 31st, 2011 at 4:09 PM ^

The system is illogical and arbitrary.  If someone wants to give these kids some dough because they like the school/team they play for or wants to put them in a commercial or help them out now so that they can represent them in the future, I don't see any harm in letting it happen, especially when the alternative is a system where it happens all the time but a few schools/athletes are randomly prosecuted for their offenses while others skate indefinitely.  You may have to put some new rules in place and tweak things a little but it seems no harder a task than what the NCAA is facing currently.

Indiana Blue

January 31st, 2011 at 3:28 PM ^

student to get his ChemE degree from the University of Michigan at roughly $45K per year (going up every year) ... I think that getting tuition, room and board ... plus a summer job if they want it ... is well .... paying athletes.

Sure I know that if an athlete attends tSIO he also gets unlimited use of a new Mercedes or Cadillac ... but I still would prefer a degree from U of M anyday !

Go Blue !


January 31st, 2011 at 4:18 PM ^

I don't think there's any one player making millions in revenue for the University.

Even Denard.  If you conjecture that the U gets $50 per jersey sold, that would mean there needs to be 20,000 authentic #16 jerseys sold to bring in $1M.  That's a tough sell to me.  Maybe over 2-3 years. 

Other than jerseys sold, I can't think of any revenue that could be directly related to one player.


January 31st, 2011 at 3:40 PM ^

I don't think the schools should pay athletes, but I do think they should be allowed to make any outside money the market dictates.  

If the schools pay 85 football players and 15 men's basketball players, they also have to pay 90 women playing sports that already lose money for the school.  Also, it would turn players into employees, and they wouldn't receive the same quality of care under workman's comp that they currently receive.  And, of course, the schools would have to pay 7.65 percent of those wages for "their half" of SS and Medicare.  

If the free market was allowed to dictate how kids get paid, it would be great.  It might not be fair that someone can't take a commission on sales of "his" uniform number, but those who are the best-sellers would be compensated with better opportunities because of their popularity.  

Let Joe Cashwad who owns ten auto dealerships pay a bunch of players to do commercials and a few personal appearances.  Let a local restaurant pay some of the guys to talk about how great the food is there.  Let boosters give all the "golden handshakes" they want to.

Nobody really loses here.  The players get some money and the boosters and employers get to brag about "their boys."  The only people who lose anything are the enforcement staffs.  

The facade of Shamateurism has been an ineffective one for at least twenty years now; why should the NCAA be the last people trying to perpetuate it?  Let the kids who produce all the money get a little bit of it.  



January 31st, 2011 at 5:00 PM ^

You realize that would completely ruin college football, right? Every kid with 4 stars would require some sort of booster money to play for a school. He wouldn't pick a team based on the coaches or the system or anything reasonable, he's pick it based on which Joe Cashwad made him the most generous promise. College football would come down to who had the best boosters, and most schools wouldn't have a prayer. School facilities would all go down the drain bc boosters would pay to get players instead of donations to the AD. Plus, what kind of trouble do you think will start happening when morally bankrupt Booster shells out thousands to "employ" Joe Recruit and Joe Recruit drops the winning TD catch?

Way too many problems with this scenario. There is lots to lose from this scenario.


January 31st, 2011 at 3:40 PM ^

I appreciate all of your feedback, it is already helping. Obviously I have a lot to learn on the issue and didn't explain a whole lot of my own opinion, and kind of generalized my own point.  I like what Purple Stuff had to say about the amateur status being lifted, and I think I'll go along that route.  That point seems to make the most sense, at least to myself.

For the record, I don't believe that ALL student-athletes should be paid, as that would destroy the coffers of universities across the country, but I do think that certain players in certain money making sports should definitely be compensated.  


January 31st, 2011 at 4:00 PM ^

To flesh things out, you might want to add some info/case studies on how this would also change the nature of NCAA investigations/sanctions/stupidity.  You could cite the Jeremy Bloom case where the kid couldn't play college football at Colorado because he made endorsement money (the only way they get paid) as a professional skier.  Contrast that with the inherent unfairness of kids who, for instance, play minor league baseball but are allowed to be paid and still maintain football eligibility.

The agent angle to NCAA enforcement would also change dramatically.  The situation where a school pays the consequences for a kid taking money from someone who wants to benefit financially from their pro career is pretty arbitrary and unfair, while the practice is widespread at any college campus.  This move toward a laissez faire approach toward student athletes getting cash would also undermine the role of boosters and others at schools that are breaking the rules while avoiding detection and create a level playing field for everybody (if everyone can do it, the cheaters don't have an upper hand). 


January 31st, 2011 at 3:52 PM ^

It would be easier to write after the suggestions in this thread. 

Present it in a way that you actually learned something from the project and the GSI will lap it up. 


January 31st, 2011 at 3:55 PM ^

I did a speech on the sane thing.  My biggest problem is that the dorms are not big enough for large athletes.  My best friend played for Washington he was 6-5 320 and roomed with Jerramy Stevens.  The room was probally 9x20.  

He eventually got an Apt of his own.  The apt at the time was cheap at 500 mo.  his stipend was 700.  Only during the season is there a training table where they can eat.  

My biggest problem was that they were not allowed to work to make extra cash.  I think thats the biggest arguement to pay student athletes.  They are not allowing them to do what other scholarship students are allowed.

In addition scholarships dont pay for parking or books.



January 31st, 2011 at 4:04 PM ^

They can always do like the rest of us and pay for a meal plan with loans.

(not to you)  I'm tired of the whining about student-athletes and their lot in life.  Oh the weight of the cross they bear getting a free education where most of them in revenue-generating sports would never have a chance to even be accepted if not for their athletic talent.


January 31st, 2011 at 4:39 PM ^

To say revenue generating athletes shouldn't get a piece of the pie is ridiculous. Its not just what they provide for the universities, but also television and advertising. ABC, CBS, FOX, ect all receive tons of cash selling advertising for games tournaments and even programing. Nike, Adidas and the like sell jerseys. Sports stores in the malls even sell autographed helmets and pictures. How can you tell the athletes everyone and their brother make money off their likeness except them? Football and basketball stars should receive more then tennis and soccer players just as a waitress should get a bigger tip at The Chop House then a waitress should get at Waffle House.

Monocle Smile

January 31st, 2011 at 7:00 PM ^

Football and basketball stars should receive more then tennis and soccer players just as a waitress should get a bigger tip at The Chop House then a waitress should get at Waffle House.

Last I checked, the soccer team won a Big Ten Championship much more recently than the football team. Last I checked, the hockey team made the NCAA tournament for the 20th straight time last season while the men's basketball team has made the Dance once in the past twelve years (21, if you don't count the Ed Martin stuff).

Is it the fault of the players if their sports don't generate revenue?

I understand that football is a revenue sport and hockey and soccer are not, but comparing the value of sports to restaurant choices is just plain stupid.


January 31st, 2011 at 7:09 PM ^

Hockey is a revenue sport at Michigan.

The argument is that revenue generation should be tied to compensation, just like everywhere else in the world.

The best teacher in the world probably makes less than a below average investment banker: one of their services is deemed more valuable by the marketplace.

Monocle Smile

January 31st, 2011 at 4:25 PM ^

the no-pay crowd here...tuition, room and board, facilities, and coaches are worth much, much more than the salaries of many Americans.

However, I think things like Mike Cox modeling for Bivouac should be allowed. He's not using his football skills to make money. It's not his fault if he's recognized as a football player by his fellow students and it doesn't compromise any part of his representation as a student-athlete. It's not like he's doing adult films.