Pay for Play: Lady Monarch Tennis Player Holly Hutchinson on Paying Student Athletes
Holly Hutchinson | Contributing Writer
The life of a student-athlete encompasses every possible challenge life can throw. Most students will tell you how stressful it is to manage work, school and social relationships. However, student-athletes have to split their time due to sporting commitments such as daily training, game days, meetings and travel days.
According to USA Today College, the NCAA has regulations that are intended to limit training to 20 hours per week. Very few student-athletes, however, report only practicing 20 hours per week. According to a 2011 NCAA survey, Division I football players averaged 43 hours per week.
Many students attend a university to play sports, but paying athletes could actually keep them there. College basketball allows players to declare themselves eligible for the NBA draft after their freshman season. In football, you can declare yourself eligible for the NFL after your junior year of college. The incentive of a paycheck draws many students from poor backgrounds towards their professional goals.
Consider the coaches and their staff’s high salaries. The head coach of Duke men’s basketball team, Mike Krzyzewski, gets paid roughly $9 million a year, excluding benefits. A portion of this could easily be used to pay their athletes.
The New York Times stated, “In 2011, $53.4 million was the combined salary of NCAA Division I football coaches. What was the combined salary of the players? $0. The workers are supposed to be content with a scholarship that does not even cover the full cost of attending college.”
Many of these athletes are on scholarship, which pays for their tuition and housing in most cases. Stipends average between $2,000 and $5,000 annually.
Pride and school spirit can all be traced back to university sports programs. Harvard and Yale are regarded as some of the best universities in the country, but what brings all the students, alumni and staff together? Spoiler alert: It’s not the engineering program. It’s the football and basketball games that bring everyone together after a big win. Even smaller sports such as lacrosse and soccer can easily rally a school together.
Alumni, especially the wealthier ones, come back to the university during a game and donate their money to see their teams flourish. There is nothing that comes close to the near-spiritual experience of putting on your school colors and going through the lows and highs of a game with your team. This is all brought to the school by one type of student: athletes.
In reality, student-athletes are basically working full-time jobs. While universities get richer, athletes are missing out on their pay day.