Just because you play hard doesn’t mean you get paid for it. The typical Division I college athlete devotes 43.3 hours per week to his/her sport. This is 3.3 more hours than the typical American work week, according to Forbes.com.
The athletes perform in practice and games, which helps the university sell logo merchandise and event tickets, along with racking up TV and online views, but the athletes get none of the revenue that is made from the games. Nobody wants to work for less than they are worth.
While people say the athletes get a scholarship out of the deal, the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s own tournament schedules require college athletes to miss classes for nationally-televised games that bring in money. Smith-Cotton High School senior Charles Guier, who plans to sign a letter of intent to run track at the University of Iowa, said: “It’s hard work. School work is hard to balance with sports, especially if you’re fully committed. … Sports are a full-time job. You have morning workouts and afternoon workouts, then a little time to study.”
As Marc Edelman wrote in the Forbes.com report, the road to NCAA sports may require student-athletes to miss up to a quarter of all class days during their spring semester. If the athletes were regular college students, after a couple days of missing senior level classes, their grades would suffer and they might not get full credit for the course.
A CNN report found many public universities had students in their basketball and football programs who could only read up to an eighth grade level. Former and current tutors and professors say it’s nearly impossible to jump from an elementary reading level to college-level reading while juggling the stressful schedules of an NCAA athlete.
After years of worrying about health coverage for college athletes, the NCAA started requiring universities to make sure their athletes had insurance before playing. University officials say they make sure to inform students about the limits of insurance, but that can leave families confused and forced to pay large, unexpected medical bills. Fortunately, many colleges cover the cost of the injury if it is related to the sport the student plays.
Speaking of injuries, a report in the Journal of Athletic Training noted that almost 30 percent of student-athletes suffer overuse injuries. These can cause reduced function, psychological exhaustion and loss of playing time.
The NCAA currently makes almost $11 billion in annual revenue from college sports, which is more than the estimated total revenues of the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League, according to Forbes. Also, much of the enormous revenues collected from college athletics does not go directly into the classroom. Instead, a share of the college sports’ revenues stays in the hands of a few administrators, athletic directors and coaches.
Lloyd Wheeler, Smith-Cotton’s freshmen baseball coach, said college athletes are “paid with their education,” but he went on to say, “Paying the athletes would make it easier for the kids to eat and do more recreational activities.” Wheeler thinks the NCAA doesn’t pay college athletes because “the people with the money are greedy.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Keira Kinner is a sophomore at Smith-Cotton High School and an Introduction to Journalism student.