I'm doing a discussion on this in my Sports Contemporary issues class tomorrow so I've been putting together a few base thoughts.
Originally Posted by Phillip J. Dick
Fuck no, because if they are, than athletes at private high schools who are given scholarships to attend the school and play for them are, and the hours just don't match up with what's legal for those kids.
I'm in agreement with this. I know not every athlete is privileged and many come from poor households, but football players, here at UGA anyways, get quite a bit of compensation. First they get a full ride scholarship. No dues, no payments, no nothing. They get their living paid for, they get their food paid for, they get their school paid for. It's up to them to choose if they want to take advantage of all of that. On top of that, these athletes get several pairs of new shoes, new clothes, including workout clothes, and gifts at the end of the season, which, depending on the conference and bowl game, can range from $200-$2000 in the gift price (I'll attach the official source on bowl gifts later). To say they are playing for free is a lie. It is indeed true to say they aren't getting paid. They are getting compensated though.
You also have to look at Collegiate sports not as a job, but as an internship. What is an internship? It's a foot in the door for your career you are training for and it is training for said career. Many internships are unpaid and some work 40 hours a week. College football is like an internship. For the best players that succeed at it, it is a three-five year internship that leads to a couple million dollars or more later in his professional career. Unfortunately, not everyone makes it to the pros, but then again, not everyone at normal internships are hired after their service is done. It's unfortunate, but that is what happens.
Yes, the NCAA is scummy, but it would be the Universities that would have to pay these athletes, and not all Universities can afford to do that. In fact, many Colleges don't even generate a profit from sports. With a Union for College athletes, it wouldn't be just for Football. It would also have to include basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey, swimming, tennis, equestrian, and whatever other sports that University has. How do they decide how much they pay each athlete? Pay them same? How's that fair for Johnny Manziel over some horse-riding chick at Texas A&M? Johnny brings in much more revenue for A&M than the chick. So many logistical problems. But I still have to bring up again that not all Universities can afford to do this. Many schools actually pay for their sports via donations and student funds. Schools like UGA, Bama, Texas and others actually pay their Universities through sport. They can afford all of these athletes. Here's a reference link:
Listen, I'm not saying the NCAA is right with how they treat athletes, I just think as a whole, we need to realize that athletes are compensated in some way, and that there are poor people that go to College as well, not just football players. I feel if we just think of it as a longterm internship that leads to a big career, then it's ok. Does the NCAA generate a lot of profit? Yeah. Maybe they should use that money to help better education or get these athletes an education so they aren't left working at Micky D's if they fail in the pros.
That said, I probably have a pretty extreme opinion and I'd love to hear some other opinions for both sides.