The Clash Between the NCAA and Student Athletes

The NCAA has always been able to sweep the burning question under the table of whether athletes should get paid. But, with the FBI probe on college basketball revealing massive corruption, and LeBron James and numerous NBA coaches/players calling the NCAA “corrupt”, the NCAA might not be able to escape this time.

The Issues

To understand entirely the issues facing the NBA, it is imperative to comprehend that this is not just one issue the NCAA is dealing with, but their are multiple tough issues the NCAA need to handle before it’s too late. There are plenty of conflicting opinions behind

Should Athletes be Paid?

This problem is the main reason that so many players and teams are getting caught accepting improper benefits. For many players, their financial situations aren’t very good, and with players being forced to go to college for one year, some players find that they need the extra money, as being an athlete prohibits them from working a job. The argument that student athletes should or shouldn’t be paid is going to take a long time to fix, for their are so many conflicting opinions.

Free Education + Degree: 

Student Athletes for Basketball and Football (where most revenue is generated) are mostly on full scholarship. Instead of having college loans for the next decades, these athletes can get a free degree, so that if they can’t make it to the pros, they have a fine education.

Paying Players: Plausible?

Many believe paying players would never work. While athletes for basketball and football generate countless amounts of revenue, should basketball players and football players be the only players getting paid? If not, how will the schools generate money to pay all the athletes for sports that generate no revenue? The average Division I football program receives a revenue of 15.6 million dollars every year. That is more than enough to pay football players, but what about swimmers who generate little-to-zero money for their schools?

There are also many different questions, including how schools are supposed to survive if they can’t pay their athletes. What if the Kentucky’s and Duke’s can offer way more than any other school? How would other teams compete?

Pay to Win?

Right now, if recruiting is done legally, recruits make their decision to choose a school based off of many factors including proximity to home, coach, facilities, playing time, and much more. But, if the NCAA started paying athletes, that could change. Instead of the hometown recruit choosing his state college, we could see him moving across the country to accept more money for his family. Many teams would suffer dramatically, and it would be bad look on the NCAA, for instead of choosing programs based off of how skilled the program is, the kid would take the money. Who would blame him?

Being a Student Athlete is a Full-Time Job

The student athlete is no ordinary student at college. They are awake working out when the typical student is asleep. Often times, they are on the road and can’t go to class, putting them at a huge disadvantage. They can’t have the social lives of typical college students, and they also can’t have a job, leaving them with no source of income. Usually, student athletes spend more time playing basketball than a normal student would working a job. How is the athlete supposed to acquire money legally? How do they get no compensation for thousands of hours of hard work?


A college athlete has always been considered an amateur. The NCAA has been a stepping stone for athletes to make the next step into professional organizations. But, with the NCAA becoming such a huge industry, it’s time to consider whether these athletes should be paid, hence deleting the term “amateur”. There’s no question that jumping straight to a professional from high school is risky. Being an amateur allows athletes to focus on their craft without the pressures of dissapointing employers and gamblers. Being an amateur is a temporary shield from critical media and fans. Are 18-year-olds ready to handle all that comes behind being a pro?


NCAA + TV Networks Using Players for Revenue

Turner Broadcasting and CBS Sports have an existing deal with the NCAA worth 19.6 billion dollars. This deal wouldn’t be in place if it weren’t for the athletes. The networks pay to broadcast the athletes, cover their games, and make countless dollars off of athletes who work for free. They can’t make a dime of the 19.6 billion dollars that is given to the NCAA. This, to many, is viewed as a modern-day slavery. The athletes do the work for the NCAA, who make the money, and the athletes get no compensation.

In college football, ESPN is paying ~5.6 billion dollars for the rights to air the college football playoff (12 year deal, via CBS Sports).  Once again, the NCAA wouldn’t be making this money without the athletes. The athletes are the NCAA’s brand.

FBI Probe

The FBI probe is a seperate incident/issue than whether players get payed, but it’s certainly related. If the NCAA payed it’s athletes, coaches wouldn’t have to pay players illegally to come to their school. The latest FBI probe on college basketball is reportedly going to put many coaches out of jobs. The most popular report is that Sean Miller, Head Coach at Arizona, was wiretapped saying that he payed freshman DeAndre Ayton $100,000 to attend Arizona. Although Miller was cleared to coach the rest of the season, Miller lost 4-star recruit Shareef O’Neal to UCLA. While Arizona might be in the clear this season, the future is cloudy at best.


Yahoo Sports has described the situation as an “underground recruiting operation.” Programs mentioned in the probe have included powerhouses like Duke, North Carolina, Michigan State, and more. While many close to the situation believed the probe would be released and programs would be in flames before the tournament, the news has been awfully quiet entering the conference tournaments.





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