A Job That Does Not Pay? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Division One college basketball is really a prime-time sport in this country. With all of the coaches, the players, and the fans, it has become a big business. Everybody from the coach to the man selling hot dogs in the stands is gaining financially. Well, almost everybody. Everyone except the players is making money. With that reality comes the proposition that Division One college basketball players on scholarship should receive some of the profits their respective schools make because of them.

Some might say, "Oh, that won't work, because players will now demand a lot of money to play." What if the NCAA executive committee set a universal standard for each scholarship player? This would be pretty easy to do. Often the highest paid person on a college campus is the basketball coach. The average salary for a Division One coach is $ 400,000 a year. If the university cut his pay to $300,000 a year (which is still 15 times the average person's salary), it could use the remaining $100,000 to pay the players. Each player would receive about $10,000 a year.

As you sit there and think, $10,000 to a kid who plays a little bit of basketball? But keep in mind that these players are not allowed to have their own job. Their teachers expect them to go to a minimum of 30 hours of school per week and their coaches expect them to go to a minimum of 15 hours of practice. They also have games, some of which they travel across the country to play. If that does not sound like a full-time job, then I do not know what does.

Although we always hear about the players who leave college and are instant millionaires in the NBA, the truth is that only about 5% make it. What happens to the others? Well, another 5% play pro ball in Europe, and of those remaining, 60% leave college without graduating. They go back to their poor neighborhoods with no money, no education, and shattered dreams. If these players were paid, however, they would have more of an incentive to graduate. Then, on top of their degree, they would have $40,000 to help get them started in a life beyond basketball.

This proposal is clearly meant to help not only the players themselves, but also their families. It might help them learn to manage money, and make them feel like their colleges are not just using them. This idea will benefit the world of Division One college basketball in a positive way. l


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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