In the past few decades, the debate regarding payment for college athletes has become a pressing issue for higher education, necessitating a deeper look into the consequences of paying college athletes such high amounts for their playing. Some argue that the emphasis on athletics in the higher education experience has left other departments hurting for funds, leaving the budget for actual academics lower while athletes are allowed to focus on sports instead of learning. However, the purpose of this research paper is to argue that college athletes’ current high compensation is justified, due to the profits that schools bring in from the athletic department. In effect, college athletes work for the schools to drive up enrollment and provide a higher profile and greater funds to the school through their athletics, and should be compensated accordingly.
The intended audience for this research paper is academic faculty, staff and administrators, as well as students and other interested parties. Many faculty and staff in non-athletic departments have a certain resentment for the athletic department, as they feel it detracts from the integrity of the school to place such an emphasis on sports to the detriment of actual education and learning; to that end, their official position on the topic is that athletes should be paid less to make more room in their budgets. Administrators, obviously, are looking at the bottom line, and encourage the athletics program in order to maintain profitability and a steady income from endorsements and exposure that the athletics departments provide. These are the groups that have the most decision-making power.
The scope of the paper will examine the viability of providing college athletes with better compensation. The paper will be outlined as follows: an introduction stating the problem at hand, a literature review establishing a body of research into the viability of athletes’ pay in higher education and its effects, a discussion section in which the existing literature is synthesized and evaluated, and a conclusion restating the main points found in the essay. The questions that will be answered in the paper are as follows:
1) What role does the athletics department (and athletes in particular) have in contributing to the larger economic well-being of its respective institutions?
2) What would the effects of increasing compensation for student athletes’ be, both for the athletics department and the university at large?
The research plan includes consulting both the Strayer University Resource Center and other academic journal sources to create a reliable, current body of research (e.g. case studies, ethnographies) from which to derive my findings. Research will then be organized by subject matter and synthesized by qualitative methods, including synthesis. Primary sources include surveys and case studies by Mondello et al. (2013), Orleans (2013) and Kirwan & Turner (2010). Secondary sources include editorials and academic journal articles such as McCormick & McCormick’s “Myth of the Student-Athlete: The College Athlete as Employee” (2006) and “A Trail of Tears” (2010) as well as Sobocinski’s “College Athletes: What is Fair Compensation” (1996).
With the help of this bibliography and additional research from primary and secondary sources, a fair and reasoned conclusion to the issue of increased athletic compensation for student athletes should be found. It is my hope that I can successfully support my thesis that student athletes should enjoy higher compensation, due to the greater support and financial sponsorship they provide the university at large through their performance.
Kirwan, W. E., & Turner, R. G. (2010). Changing the Game: Athletics Spending in an Academic
Context. Trusteeship, 18(5), 8-13.
McCormick, R. A., & McCormick, A. C. (2006). Myth of the Student-Athlete: The College
Athlete as Employee. Wash. L. Rev., 81, 71.
McCormick, R., & McCormick, A. (2010). A trail of tears: The exploitation of the college
athlete. Florida Coastal Law Review, 11, 639.
Mondello, M., Piquero, A. R., Piquero, N. L., Gertz, M., & Bratton, J. (2013). Public perceptions
on paying student athletes. Sport in Society, 16(1), 106-119.
Orleans, J. H. (2013). The Effects of the Economic Model of College Sport on Athlete
Educational Experience. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 6(1).
Sobocinski, E. J. (1996). College athletes: what is fair compensation. Marq. Sports LJ, 7, 257.