Should College Athletes Be Paid?

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The funny thing about the ruling on Kentucky, the NCAA technically had no authority to rule this.  The NCAA was still in the infancy stage when the sanctions were released.  The reason to schools started listen to these made up rules was because it happened to the defending national champions Kentucky.    With Byers and the NCAA being able to come down upon Kentucky, other schools began to tense up and try to agree to the rules or try not to be caught.  Nevertheless, the ability to find players who receive illegal benefits has proven difficult and troublesome for the NCAA.  The sources of illegal benefits are numerous: as school boosters, shoe companies/sponsors, and the competitiveness of agents, to name a few.

When illegal benefits are suspected to being distributed, boosters are some of the first people investigated.  In south Florida, the University of Miami was investigated for all of their sports programs receiving benefits from a criminal booster Nevin Shapiro who was reportedly running a “Ponzi Scheme” that amounted up to 930 million dollars.  Shapiro gave thousands of illegal benefits out to 72 different athletes from the year 2002-2010 (Robinson).  Shapiro also invested money into part ownership of a sports agency firm which signed numerous Miami Hurricane athletes.  The athletes at Miami often were taken out by Shapiro to clubs and parties.  There even some cases of Shapiro handing out prostitutes to the kids (Robinson).  A lot of the players that were wooed by Shapiro’s money are now at the next level of sports while the school is awaiting a final word from the NCAA.  With the majority of the athletes on Miami being from a poorer background, it isn’t hard to see why the majority of these players were enticed by the celebrity life.

Receiving money from boosters isn’t just a thing of the present.  Going back to 1987, the SMU football program received the formidable “death penalty” in sports like the Kentucky basketball team in the 1950’s.  Within the program a slush fund of money was being distributed out by boosters to SMU players and 61,000 dollars was reported to have gone to 13 different players in the program.  The players receiving money were getting around 725 dollars a month (Sullivan, and Neff).  While other schools had problems with larger amounts of money, SMU was overlooking the slush fund (a pool of money that is distributed to the players) which made the case so controversial.  Many of the players that were targeted all fessed up to the accusations.  Ex-running back Craig James quoted “We deserve everything that’s being said and written about us because we were guilty of those accusations” (Sullivan, and Neff).  The “death penalty” at SMU was one of the first major punishments the NCAA laid down in college football history.  It is still the example that NCAA uses to many programs.