College sports teams generate about $6 billion in revenue for universities and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) each year. Many coaches also earn several million dollars in salaries and endorsements each year. However, the NCAA insists college athletes are amateurs and ineligible to be compensated more than the scholarships they receive. Advocates say most of these â€œamateurâ€ athletes practice and train 12 months a year as well as attend school full time. Critics claim this convenient rule allows the exploitation of many young American men and women, saying other students attend universities on non-athletic scholarships and are not forced to work hard, risk serious injury or make millions for their school and the NCAA. Financial stress causes many of these young athletes to drop out of school or leave early in an attempt to play in professional leagues. Most universities do not provide health insurance to scholarship athletes, and many revoke the scholarships of those who get injured or who do not perform as well as expected. Compensation proponents say colleges should be allowed to give stipends, jobs and health insurance to these athletes. One 2010 study found the average out-ofâ€“pocket expense of colleges awarding a full scholarship to an athlete was about $3,200. It also found the fair market value of a football and basketball player at a large university was more than $120,000 and $265,000 respectively. These values more than tripled for athletes playing at top sports schools. This study also found that since athletic scholarships do not cover all student costs and many athletes do not have time for a job, at least 85% of all scholarship players are living below the poverty line. Critics also say athletes do not get paid royalties from the sale of their jerseys or for digital appearances in video games. Even after athletes have left college, the NCAA retains some of these licensing rights in perpetuity. Critics say that everyone including the NCAA, colleges, coaches, TV networks, advertisers, apparel and video game manufacturers make money off our â€œamateurâ€ athletes -except the athletes themselves. However, the National Labor Relations Board has recently ruled that Northwestern Universityâ€™s football players are employees and have the right to unionize, saying there is enough evidence to show these athletes are employees of the university -getting paid in the form of scholarships, working between 20 and 50 hours per week and generating millions of dollars for their schools. Also, as a result of a former UCLA basketball playerâ€™s lawsuit, the NCAA and a video game maker have recently agreed to pay players, who competed between 2005 and 2014, $60 million from revenue generated by the use of their names and images. It has yet to be decided whether players will receive a share of the revenue from the telecasts of sporting events.
Pending Legislation: None
I oppose reforming current amateur athlete compensation policy
I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill requiring colleges and universities to fairly compensate scholarship athletes; provide paid health insurance; guarantee a 4-year scholarship; and allow athletes and former athletes to negotiate compensation for items marketed in their names