College football has become a multibillion-dollar industry, where the most intricate parts of the sport, the players, are not compensated for their work.
Coaches, trainers and school administrators receive lucrative salaries from the growing popularity of their respective college football programs. With the amount of money generated by these programs, it is only fair to compensate the players for their services as well.
According to CNNMoney, the 68 football programs in the six major conferences earned more than $1 billion in profits for the first time in 2010.
College football’s elite coaches earn multimillion-dollar a year contracts that rival that of their NFL counterparts. Let’s not forget the lavish television contracts, video game and merchandising sales and other revenue that make college football the money making machine it is today. Ironically, the NCAA categorizes itself as a nonprofit group, yet it’s obvious that there is plenty of profit being made from college football.
A 2011 study conducted by the National College Players Association and the Drexel University Department of Sport Management, called “The Price of Poverty In Big Time College Sport,” reported that many Division I scholarship athletes live below the federal poverty line despite the extravagant revenues of some Division I schools.
According to the study, despite having the highest combined football and basketball revenues, the University of Florida’s player scholarships left them living $2,250 below the federal poverty line and with a $3,190 scholarship shortfall.
Even with scholarships, many players are struggling to make ends meet. Players that don’t have scholarships have to pay thousands of dollars in tuition every semester to earn their degrees. Student-athletes are put at an unfair disadvantage where if they don’t perform, they lose the opportunity to earn a college education.
Steve Spurrier, former coach of the Florida Gators and current coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks, believes that players should be compensated for their roles in college football’s explosive profitability in recent years.
“Their value is all based on money,” Spurrier told the Daily Gamecock. “It’s not based on anything else except what they bring in to the university money-wise. They’re talking about (paying players). I don’t know that they’ll do anything until they have to do something, but football (and) basketball players bring in a lot of money.”
The recent scandals at the University of Miami and Ohio State University prove that the current system is not working. Paying players can reduce illegal activity that has brought down some of the nation’s most storied football programs while helping players set themselves up financially for life after sports.
Royalties, a stipend or a salary based on a player’s fair market value are some of the ways that players could be paid for their contribution to the rising popularity of college football.
Frank Nuez is a senior majoring in accounting.