Should Big-Time College Athletes Be Paid?
January 9, 2012
This fall in an article in the Atlantic, civil rights historian Taylor Branch made a compelling case for paying college athletes, calling the current system "the shame of college sports." The National College Athletic Association responded: "Student-athletes are students first and athletes second. They are not university employees who are paid for their labor." Yet in many big-time colleges and universities, athletic programs rake in millions of dollars and coaches can earn celebrity status and seven-figure salaries. Meanwhile, as evidenced by related scandals and lawsuits, athletes on scholarships that barely cover their expenses are tempted to break NCAA rules by accepting favors and gifts from alumni boosters. Should big-time college athletes be compensated for their performance and how might such a system work? We've invited former Penn basketball player STEPHEN DANLEY and Wharton professor KEN SHROPSHIRE to explore the debate by taking us behind the scenes of college sports.