Editorial for Portfolio—Imagination


Colleges harvest billions of dollars from student athletes but deny them from their rightful earnings. The NCAA made over $1 billion in revenue in 2017, mostly from apparel companies. That money is sent to member schools, to fund their sports programs and lavish facilities, and give outrageous salaries for head coaches and administrators.

But these individual athletes are not compensated for the use of their name, image or likeness by their colleges and athletic apparel companies like Nike or Under Armour. Universities with top teams can scrape in nearly $20 million a year from these companies, while athletes whose talent attracts these sponsorships walk away with not a single penny. It’s only fair that these athletes should at least get some pay for bringing on the fame upon them and their university’s team.

Not every student athlete qualifies for a scholarship. Many have to pay full freight of the tuition and living expenses. Paying college athletes who don’t have a scholarship can encourage healthier student athletes. It would relieve them of the burden of maintaining part-time jobs to make ends meet. It would allow them to focus on academics and athletics. Offering these athletes a stipend for playing would be an added incentive. As non-employees, they’re not eligible for workers compensation if injured. Paying them would provide some financial relief to families.

Athletes who aren’t paid can be corrupted by agents and boosters who are willing to bribe them to play for other schools. Paid players could stay until they graduate. They wouldn’t have to worry about leaving school early and still be able to pursue an education while taking care of their families. This will allow fans to see their favorite players mature through college and ensure coaches are preparing their athletes as much as possible for the next level.

The N.C.A.A. is considering changes after California state lawmakers passed a bill that allows athletes to profit from their fame. The vote was a surprising turn by the N.C.A.A., which for years has resisted calls for athletes to be compensated for the use of their names, images and likenesses. A class-action lawsuit has been filed arguing that athletes should be paid like employees. Trey Johnson, a former Villanova defensive back who is playing in the Canadian Football League, is suing the N.C.A.A. and many of its member schools, accusing them of violating minimum-wage laws by refusing to pay their athletes. Trey Johnson, a former Villanova defensive back, is suing the N.C.A.A. and many of its member schools, accusing them of violating minimum-wage laws by refusing to pay their athletes. Johnson suggests that the N.C.A.A. should pay its student athletes the basic minimum wage as required by federal law. He stated that they pay the students who tear the tickets and sell popcorn at our games. The least that the N.C.A.A. can do for those who bring so much money to the N.C.A.A. and its schools would be to pay them the minimum wage.

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3 Responses to Editorial for Portfolio—Imagination

  1. davidbdale says:

    Considerably better than your Draft in almost every way, Imagination. You’ve taken feedback to heart and made a much more compelling argument after a healthy revision cycle. An excellent example of the value of recursiveness.


  2. davidbdale says:

    Imagination, I’m doing a quick round of feedback this week to get the revision ball rolling. You’ve asked about structure, so let’s look at that. Feel free to put your post back into Feedback Please if you want more reactions or a different sort of feedback.

    —You establish that colleges make billions (but except for the biggest ones, that probably doesn’t amount to much PER college; do you have a number on what the top 100 make per team?), but you don’t say where it comes from, which really matters because in your second paragraph you’re going to say that some of the money comes from apparel companies.
    —Then you claim that the money gets “returned” to member schools as if it had originated from them. Did it?
    —You claim that athletes are deprived their “rightful” earnings as if you had established they are owed something. Since you haven’t proved it yet, you will be expected to. Let’s see if you do.

    —It’s odd that you haven’t named the NCAA yet. Ignoring them seems like a big oversight. Do colleges get money directly, somehow, from, say TV networks? Or are the media contracts arranged by the NCAA, which in turn dispenses cash based on some formula? And isn’t it the NCAA that PROHIBITS student athletes from being paid, to maintain their amateur status?
    —So it’s particularly surprising that you skip over the unfairness of athletes not being paid by their colleges and go immediately to their not being paid by Nike.
    —Of course, if they did get paid by Nike, it would be as individuals, not as a team. So you’re going to have to be more specific at all times about where the money’s coming from and who it’s paid to.

    —You’ve shifted gears again to consider scholarships a form of compensation. I think that makes three forms of payment now under discussion. Are you suggesting that both Scholarship and Non-Scholarship athletes should be paid a salary?
    —Obviously a salary would never be adequate compensation for a career-ending injury.
    —Your “intangible advantages” sentence is out of place in this paragraph.

    —Interesting concept, but athletes who ARE compensated could just as easily be corrupted. What’s more, if there IS pay for playing, agents and boosters will BOTH be heavily investing in active campaigns to outbid one another (unless you’re planning to pay EVERY football player the same amount).
    —I don’t see how pay will reduce the temptation to transfer.

    —The story has caught up with us since you started this project, Imagination.
    You’ll need to address two recent developments for your Editorial to be timely.
    1. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/29/sports/ncaafootball/ncaa-athlete-pay.html?module=inline
    2. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/06/sports/ncaa-lawsuit.html?searchResultPosition=4

    That probably looks like a lot of work. I hope you agree resolving these issues will make a much more persuasive case.


  3. May I please have feedback on the structure of my writing.


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