Should College Athletes Be Paid



In the National Collegiate Athletic Association, paying athletes- whether to, or no to- is one of the most controversial topics. The association seems to invalidate that the athletes mainly create entertainment for them and rarely does acknowledge this. They suppose that paying athletes and allowing everyone to earn money for their performance would undermine their goal of a “balance” of academics and athletics. The three divisions did agree that the athletes will be able to be paid by third parties based on name, image, and likeness. But there is a flaw to this. A very small portion of athletes would be paid, and it wouldn’t be based on their performances. The NCAA is a system that is already blundered; athletes make the entertainment for the association and are brushed aside by rules, regulations, and the whole commission itself. This even includes football and basketball, the two sports that generate the most revenue for NCAA.

In his cartoon, Mike Thompson illustrates one of the higher-ups of the NCAA “hierarchy” in a golden chariot, such as a god-like figure would be portrayed. One thing to note is that the president and Board of Governance all work closely together in the NCAA. Mark Emmert, the president, and John DiGioia are some of the superiorly ranked people in the NCAA Board of Governors. They are the people who make most of the final decisions. The golden chariot represents exactly how they rule the NCAA. They rule other kings or leaders that have led as tyrants who thought they were gods, ruling with more power than they should and taking away much of the freedoms and opportunities the population should be able to have. Another idea that this cartoon represents is that of the athletes carrying the NCAA. The large athlete portrays the role that athletes play in moving the NCAA forward and making money for it. 

There is a balance problem in the NCAA, especially in Division I. The athletes do not make money and most athletes don’t receive a full scholarship, let alone any substantial athletic aide. The athletes are the ones creating entertainment for the public, but yet, the NCAA is who makes the millions of dollars. And even though the NCAA does say that they want a balance between athletics and academics, when it comes to the major sports, there is at most only a sprinkle of academics throughout an athlete’s collegiate career. This is the exact reason that the NCAA believes athletes should not be paid based on their performance, which in most cases, will be stellar at any division. They believe that paying athletes will take the focus away from academics. The irony of the man saying that paying athletes would “destroy the current system of college sports” is the fact that it is destroyed, slowly diminishing both the actual academic and athletic standards of the association. Aside from soccer, track and field, cross country, and the occasional bright volleyball team, many sports won’t even willingly publish their team’s GPA. They only place a major focus on their four-year rates. There is also some humor in the editorial cartoon. The man in the chariot is holding a briefcase with a stack of money in his hand, leading the audience to believe he may have even more in the case, even though money is the prominent issue being addressed. Also, the exaggerated size of the football player is humorous but also makes a point. The importance of athletes, shown in their size, is combined with how much of the world sees them (including the NCAA decision-makers). They see most of the athletic population as large jocks with tattoos, who have no feelings, hence the football player’s facial expression. The illustration also shows the strength the athletes need to keep carrying along with the NCAA, and while this is mostly with the mental strength to keep pushing through, athleticism is what they need to keep competing in the league while hoping to leave college without debt. 

Athletes represent their school, sport, and the NCAA when they compete at the highest levels of amateur sports. But they don't get paid for their high level of representation, and the attention they bring to the association and their school as well. The illustrator puts an effort to symbolize how the NCAA is run and expresses the major role of the athletes, which benefits the NCAA rather than themselves. Thompson even depicts the NCAA higher-ups broaching what paying athletes would do to the league, even though it had already been ruined by the commission itself.