Should college athletes be paid? Not while white fans don’t want to pay black athletes
The NCAA, college coaches and media conglomerates all profit from the blood, sweat and tears of unpaid college football and basketball player, the majority of whom are African American. This injustice is secretly condoned by many passionate fans who get pumped up to cheer on their favorite players and teams on game-day. The opinions of white fans on the compensation of student-athletes shockingly depends on their feelings towards African Americans. The Washington Post elaborates.
“In a statistical analysis that controlled for a host of other influences, we found this: Negative racial views about blacks were the single most important predictor of white opposition to paying college athletes. The more negatively a white respondent felt about blacks, the more they opposed paying college athletes.
The wage gap between whites and blacks
The color of someone’s skin should have no bearing on their ability to earn a living, but unfortunately that is not true in America. The median household income for black households is less than 60% that of white ones, according to CNN Money. This systemic racism colors the attitudes of white fans and infects their arguments on the compensation of student-athletes.
Racism is clearly alive in every national debate, but is it the main reason why colleges don’t pay student-athletes?
Should college athletes be paid?
Studies, like the 2014 Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES), have shown that African Americans are generally in favor of compensating student-athletes while white people are not. However, the support among African Americans is not overwhelming, as only 53 percent think student-athletes should be paid.
It’s hard to overlook racial narratives, but in order to stay unbiased, let’s look at just the numbers. A tuition free education is worth a lot of money, in some cases more than $200,000. Of the 85 scholarship players on a Division I football team, how many are actually worth more that much money on the open market?
There is no market price for college football players, therefore we must look at the NFL Draft, where a late-round player is guaranteed at least a $170,000 signing bonus. So, a late round draft pick is basically worth the price of his college education while top picks are worth significantly more. Since only 255 of 15,842 draft eligible players are picked every year, merely 1.6% of players can argue that they are worth more than the cost of their education.
The fact that racism has infected the conversation on compensating student-athletes is repugnant. By making a colorblind, market value assessment, it is clear that even though college superstars are exploited and should be paid, the vast majority of student-athletes are not deserving of compensation.