Are College Football Players Being Exploited?

are_college_football_players_being_exploitedThere has been an argument raging for over a decade now; should college football players receive payment? Most college football players receive full scholarships with room and board— an impressive payment by the standards of many students who have to bury themselves under debt to receive a higher education. College sports scholarships are supposed to represent the extension of a helping hand to a worthy student who performs outstandingly in both academics and their chosen sport. While many colleges maintain academic standards (and while some are questionable) there is no denying the truth, college football has become a business.

Colleges and Universities across the country, especially the major ones, turn multimillion profits each year on the talents of their school’s football team. Many would argue on the backs of them. There should not be any undervaluing of the fact that these students receive a free undergraduate education. Education is one major expense the majority of us spend paying off for a good part of our lives. Free college education is an invaluable step up for those who receive it. However it has been recently brought to light that a trend has appeared where some college athletes’ graduate without all of their educational expenses covered. It has been estimated that on average players rack up around an additional $3,000 dollars in educational expenses.

Naturally, the promise of full scholarship should be fulfilled for these athletes, given the fact that is what they are promised. Any inability of a school to cover the full educational expenses of its players to whom that is promised is unacceptable. When these players help to push forward the multimillion dollar industry of college football requiring them to pay for any part of their education comes down to nothing more than outright greed.

Profit from Jersey Sales

Another cause worthy of concern is how much money schools make off of jersey sales using players’ popularity to sell the merchandise. It has little to do with getting paid to play and everything to do with the fact that colleges make jerseys with specific numbers, numbers with historic associations, but mostly numbers of their current top players. They use the likeness and popularity of players to sell merchandise and make business agreements with sports apparel companies. Michigan has an eight year $66.5 million deal with Adidas to produce replicas of their jerseys. This is not a matter of mere dollars and cents, the colleges are making fortunes off of the popularity of specific players, period. It paints a very unflattering picture of the NCAA that they do not allow the players responsible for this profit to benefit from it in any way, even if that meant allowing them only to use the money for a post graduate education or charity. This spells greed and nothing more.

In the end to turn college athletes into salaried players would not be fair, nor would it send a good message. To be chosen to participate in a college sport is in itself a big deal. Having ones entire undergrad education paid for is certainly nothing to turn a nose up at. However, when Universities deliberately short change players who have worked hard to achieve collegiate success and athletic excellence that is wrong. To use loopholes to make money of off players by making them pay for any part of their education is not acceptable, and neither is branding them and using their talent and popularity to pocket free money. Though names are not put on college jerseys the marketing is transparent and the loophole being used is obvious. There are plenty of ways to ensure any money made from merchandise would be used appropriately by athletes, the NCAA gets to make the rules after all.


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