Abolish Amateurism

By rule amateurism is a status that collegiate student athletes must maintain to play collegiate sports. Amateurism basically states that student athletes cannot be paid or receive any monetary funding while playing a college sport other than scholarship. To me this is one of the most bullshit rules our society allows and I will tell you why. The NCAA is a Billion dollar industry whose growth rivals that of many blue chip companies. The majority of revenues made by this industry mainly comes from two sports football and basketball.

To break this down even more there are a handful of schools that are responsible for this revenue. Without these high profile athletes none of this revenue would be possible. What do these athletes get in return, free tuition and room and board, which is not even enough to cover all of the costs of college.

Because of the rules set forth by the NFL and NBA athletes are not allowed to go directly to the pros. With no other real options these high profile athletes are pretty much forced to go to college to compete in there respected sports. While major division 1 colleges are great places to develop in their sport they are in many ways taking advantage of these athletes. Most of these athletes would not go to college if it was not for athletics, but because college sports is the best route to the NFL or NBA they must take this route. Also the majority of these athletes come from harsh backgrounds and are nor very well off financially.

The question I have is amateurism really amateurism when millions of people watch you play, or is this just some term the NCAA uses so it does not have to pay the people responsible for making their money. Actually I’m not asking you, I’m telling you this is why the NCAA makes the amateurism rule. Don’t get me wrong, amateurism does allow colleges to have other scholarship sports that they might not have if these revenues were to go elsewhere. I don’t think that the money the NCAA makes should go directly to these athletes and maybe not even go to them at all , but they should be at the least be allowed to get some additional money other than there scholarship. At the least they should get what the expected expenses of college are. The colleges do not have to pay these kids more, society is willing to do it for them. I just think that it is not right that you can tell a kid that doesn’t have to cents to rub together that he cannot benefit himself, whether this be from endorsements, getting an agent or selling memorabilia. It’s just not right.

Terrel Pryor exchangeda  tatoo for an autograph and ran aground of the BS rules of NCAA

Terrel Pryor exchangeda tatoo for an autograph and ran aground of the BS rules of NCAA

A great video to watch on this topic is Schooled: The Price of College Sports. It’s on Netflix








8 thoughts on “Abolish Amateurism

  1. I’m glad I had the opportunity to read this because it’s not something I would think about otherwise. I think you bring up some valid arguments regarding athletes in the NCAA. It does seem like young athletes are put in a difficult situation when they graduate high school because they have to attend college in order to have any hope of getting into the NBA or NFL. However, I can’t say I agree that they deserve more money. A college education is an extremely expensive investment for both athletes and non-athletes. The athletes who are fortunate enough to be accepted to top colleges on a full scholarship are already receiving an immense payment that so many others would kill for.

  2. As a division 1 athlete, I definitely understand where you are coming from in this post. Now, I admit that I am not going to be in the NFL or the NBA (shocking, I know…), but the idea is the same. I do think, however, that going to college is important for these athletes. While it might not be their first choice of things to do and they would rather go straight to the pro’s, I feel like playing in college offers them several years to develop their skills even further so that they will be better prepared to play in the NFL/NBA/whatever league they are looking to join. They also get the benefit of receiving a college education, which has numerous benefits. So many players get injured and having a college degree would probably help these injured players get jobs after they are done playing if they need to. I think attending college for free on a scholarship is pretty fair compensation for their contributions. Thinking about a school like Bucknell who’s tuition is almost $60,000, most entry level jobs don’t have starting salaries this high. While the NBA or NFL likely pays much more than $60,000 a year (I don’t know the exact numbers), I think that these athletes are getting more benefits from attending college than just a scholarship.

  3. As a tennis player at Bucknell, I feel I must weigh in on this topic too. (Hey Tara – 2 Division 1 athletes posting in a row! I’m guessing that speaks to Bucknell’s demographics…)

    While I side more with Michaela and Tara, I’ll play devil’s advocate. The top American athletic universities and colleges benefit immensely from the talents of top athletes. Think Penn State, a publicly funded higher education institution that generated almost $110 million in sports revenue for 2012. Of that $110 million, it is reasonable to estimate that the majority is derived from football and basketball ticket and merchandise sales, sponsors and other revenue streams. In comparison, Bucknell would have to accept nearly 1,900 more students to achieve that kind of revenue, based on tuition of $58,000 per year. At that rate, Bucknell would need to double its size.

    So, where am I going with this? The top athletes that are recruited to Penn State and other mammoth athletic programs enable these schools to rake in more money, hire more effective professors, build more buildings and climb the overall ranking lists. Is it time to find a way to pay it forward to these few athletes?

    Check out this link for interesting stats on Penn State’s economic impact in Pennsylvania: http://econimpact.psu.edu/.

    • University budgets tend to be big pots of fungibility, and i don’t mean porcingi mushroom fungibility bad puns are mushrooming here).

      Seriously, what I mean is that the revenues and costs, I think, are part of the total university budget. I don’t know if we know if 10, 20, 30% of the PSU sports budget, or any schools’, goes int academics, or parking lot lights, or heating bills, or assistant lacrosse coaches, and so on.

  4. I guess i didn’t explain this situation well enough, because at the time I was more concerned with getting my paper done. When I say these athletes i am really only talking about maybe 150-300 athletes in a given year. These are the top athletes in most cases football and basketball, but there could be athletes from other sports, although baseball would probably be next and they allow kids to go straight from high school to the pros. These athletes are the ones who if it weren’t for the rules set forth would most likely be in the pros. For them a college education is obviously not that important because in basketball these athletes leave after there freshman year and in football there junior year.

    To Michaela’s comment “The athletes who are fortunate enough to be accepted to top colleges on a full scholarship are already receiving an immense payment that so many others would kill for.” When you say “fortunate enough to be accepted”, I think you are getting at that they would not regularly be accepted if they were applying as a regular student. Which I think you are correct in most cases the GPA and SAT test scores of these athletes are probably somewhat lower than the colleges normal acceptance average. The one part where you are wrong is these are not regular people, they are the top athletes at the collegiate level in the world. Also, because these athletes leave college early it is not an immense payment. Also, if you were to take the profit from all of the jerseys that were sold with this athletes number on it you would find in a lot of cases that the school was making a lot more that what the full scholarship was worth, and that is just jersey sales, not the hundreds of other ways schools use these athletes.

    This is a site that takes about the jersey sales of college athletes

    To Tara’s comment: I’m not sure if you aware of this or not, but the contracts that full scholarship athletes have to sign are renewable every year and it is up to the coaches whether they want to renew it. So if an athlete gets injured and the coach decides to not renew the scholarship then the athlete loses the scholarship. Most coaches will honor the scholarship, but there are times when this is not the case.

    To Scott’s Comment. Thanks for the stats on Penn State, it is a school that would fit in this category. For the most part these athletes come from the ACC, BIG Ten, PAC-12, SEC, Big East, Big 12, and maybe a few others. A prime school to look at in this case would be Alabama University.

    I’m sorry if it feels like I am coming at you guys for your comments and I understand your just doing this because were required to do so, but I really feel strongly about this topic, even though it has no effect on me personally.

  5. Do you know that the majority of Div 1 basketball and football players are from poorer socio-economic backgrounds. What is the threshold you are using? Poverty level? Can you add some support for such a statement?

  6. When you are discussing the revenues of the NCAA, do you mean them, directly? Or do you mean the revenues of the all the member schools? Or the revenues for broadcasters, for equipment makers, and so on?

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