Should College Athletes Be Paid?

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College sports generate a massive amount of revenue of people paying for tickets or watching games on TV.  College sports have become a very big business.  According to various reports many of the larger market football teams have recorded a total profit of 40-80 million dollars even after paying off the multi-million dollar contracts to coaching staff members.  The revenue generated in basketball is also large.  Last year, CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting paid 771 million to the NCAA for television rights to the 2011 men’s basketball tournament alone (Branch).

Money generated in college sports doesn’t just come from the actual events alone.  Revenue can come from anything such as tickets, merchandise and video games.  In 2009 ex UCLA basketball player named Ed O’Bannon filed a lawsuit against the NCAA for not allowing him to collect money from the NCAA using his image.  O’Bannon won the National Player of the Year award in 1995 and he hasn’t played amateur sports in over 10 years.  Ed O’Bannon contended that athletes who have moved on from the amateur level should get paid to have their image used (Branch)  The NCAA has still yet to give a ruling on the case.  Similarly in Athens Georgia, A. J. Green, a wide receiver for the University of Georgia confessed that he’d sold his own jersey from the year before.  The NCAA sentenced Green to a four-game suspension for violating his amateur status by selling the shirt off his own back. While he served the suspension, the Georgia Bulldogs store continued legally selling replicas of Green’s jersey for prices around 40 dollars and higher (Branch).

The number of athletes that accept illegal benefits has grown tremendously.  With a large number, the difficulty to enforce the rules on everyone has also become apparent.  The NCAA first started coming down on teams going back to after they put up the sanity code in 1948.  A couple of years later the NCAA finally gained control after a certain set of events.  A man by the name of Walter Byers was hired as the new head of the NCAA.  Byers was an intimidator and was able to come down on a score of schools whose basketball programs were being paid off by gamblers to play poorly.  One school in particular was the University of Kentucky.  After finding this out, Byers talked to Kentucky President A.D Kirwin and lobbied the school to sit out for the 1952-52 season as punishment from the players (Branch).