CSUEB Athletes Should Be Paid

Athletes are entitled to compensation.

Thousands of college athletes remain unpaid across the country for their efforts while universities earn millions from their work.

Athletes are representatives of the university and their work influences revenue from games, increases followings and sponsorships and produces substantial revenue for the school.

Student-athletes deserve some type of monetary gain for their long hours, commitment and representation of their university instead of just universities gaining revenue from their services.

Using college athletes to make millions of dollars for the university without paying them is an injustice to the student, and the university system that should pride itself on improving the lives of their students.

The college sports system needs a complete restructuring, with players given guaranteed scholarships for their entire four years, stipends for spending and a fresh start of a system that has failed for decades.

“The college athletes are clearly the 99 percent who create the wealth in college sports. The question is, where is the individual from the ranks who is going to frame and focus and project that political reality?” said Sports Psychologist Dr. Harry Edwards at a lecture at UC Berkeley in March.

On September 1, 2011, CSU East Bay officially became a NCAA Division University, creating more opportunities for college athletes.

In the past few years, CSUEB has moved from a non-scholarship program to one that proudly claims to commit over $250,000 in athletic financial aid, according to a survey by the Office of Postsecondary Education.

According to FLDCU.org, an athletic scholarship statistic database in 2010 they pledged $292,729 in financial aid to 229 athletes, equaling only $1,278.39 per student in financial aid.

Similarly, in 2010, San Francisco State University had 285 athletes and pledged $347,589 in financial aid, equaling to $1,219.61 per athlete while the school earned $1.6 million in revenue.

“We are a small budget program and 100 percent of our student-athletes pay a significant portion of their education,” said Ralph Jones, CSUEB head coach of the men and women’s cross country and track teams.

“Our student-athletes do not get much if any athletic aid, but they are receiving a quality education and developing qualities and strengths through sport that will help them be successful in the real world long after their college eligibility is over,” he said.

CSUEB’s plan to become a NCAA Division II University was to generate more sports revenue and provide better opportunities for their student athletes, while attracting more students who want to attend the school because of the growing sports program.

However, it fails to point out these students will be funding a majority of their own education while working diligently to represent their university through a sports team, all with no monetary gain.

The numbers point out a large disparity between the financial aid committed to student athletes and the revenue. A portion of that can and should be given to students as stipends.

While CSUEB is a small budget university, big name schools like Stanford and UC Berkeley earn millions, even billions of dollars from television contracts, corporate branding and more, turning students into revenue building machines.

It’s not just schools that are earning millions of the backs of student-athletes; coaches have multi-million dollar contracts as well.

Scandals of college athletes getting illegally paid or recruited or the thought that a “free-ride” through college is enough for these athletes are grossly misinterpreted. Some may be getting paid, but most of them are not.

In many instances, college athletes’ scholarships are taken away if the student is injured and many are left to pay for their own medical expenses.

While athletic departments claim to have dwindling funding, in 2010, the Southeastern Conference (SEC), became the first program to earn over a billion dollars — where is that money going? Why do coaches have multi-million dollar contracts, yet some student-athletes never even smell the money that is earned off of them?

Student-athletes are left with the hopes of not getting injured or being skilled enough at the highest level to be recruited into the realm of professional sports. Yet, for women athletes, even that is a stretch when the average rookie salary in the WNBA is $35,190, compared to the average NBA salary, which hovers at $5 million.

Truly, we are all entitled to compensation for the work we produced, be what it may. If you are providing a service or a product, compensation is due. That is a generally acknowledged and accepted notion. Yet, CSUEB athletes are not invited into that realm of thought, and that thought needs to be changed.

“In some cases I’m for, and in some cases I’m against because you are talking apples to oranges. If there was parity across the board and every program had the same budgets, and mission statements to honor athletics as amateur competitions in colleges then I would be against. But the truth is major college sports are a multi-billion dollar business, so somebody is being paid,” said Jones.

Yes, somebody is being paid, but it’s not the right person.