This is the time for March Madness. And we all know how crazy March Madness can be. The busted brackets, the clutch performances, the bone-headed plays, and the upsets make this an intense time in college basketball. With those situations came the highs, lows, and overall memories of both greatness and futility. It is safe to say that March Madness is the epitome of ultimate competition.
Personally, I think NCAA athletes should get paid. But more on that later.
March Madness really is a stirring reminder of what America was founded on: making tons of money off the labor of unpaid black people
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) March 22, 2014
An interesting tidbit came in the form of a recent poll.
This recent poll actually revealed some interesting opinions of the general populace:
Only 33 percent support paying college athletes. At 64 percent, opposition is nearly twice as high as support, with 47 percent strongly against the idea. Nearly every demographic and political group opposes it except non-whites, for whom 51 percent support. The breakdown among whites (73 percent oppose, 24 percent support) tilted strongly in the opposite direction. 
It seems, as small as this poll may have been, that there is a good number of people that are opposed to paying players. What is more interesting is that non-whites are the ones that felt players should be played . Thus, it can be said that plenty (if not most) people are not too fond of the “pay for play” idea for college.
Again, I feel NCAA athletes should get paid (at least something). Yet, I will break down both sides (at least a little bit).
NCAA Athletes Should Not Be Paid
For many, paying student athletes is something quite absurd. Many would assume that most of the colleges are athletically profitable; in reality, only a fraction actually make money from athletics . Many have to realize that plenty of schools are not profiting off of their sports programs like the major schools. Then there is the fact that these are students (and notprofessional athletes themselves) . In short, student athletes should not make money because they are students that are possibly not generating much money in the first place.
Additionally, there is still the well being of the students to worry about. For one, they have to make sure that they (as institutions) maintain a lifestyle that allows the student athlete to progress, prosper, and purely grow. Being an athlete cannot, and should not, deteriorate the learning situation. Even more important are the scholastic expectations of these colleges. Quite simply, athletes have their health and books to worry about before they care about being the top athletic pieces to the sports puzzle.
NCAA Athletes Should Get Paid
You want reasons for players to possibly be paid? Marc Edelman (Forbes contributor) gave a few reasons why students should be paid:
1. The typical Division I college football player devotes 43.3 hours per week to his sport — 3.3 more hours than the typical American work week.
2. Although the NCAA claims college athletes are just students, the NCAA’s own tournament schedules require college athletes to miss classes for nationally televised games that bring in revenue.
3. Currently, the NCAA Division I football championship is played on a Monday night. This year, the national football championship game required Florida State football players to miss the first day of spring classes.
4. Meanwhile, the annual NCAA men’s basketball tournament affects more than six days of classes (truly “Madness” if the players aren’t “employees”).
6. At other schools, college coaches regulate student-athlete speech on Facebook and Twitter — even when their sport is not in session.
7. The NCAA currently produces nearly $11 Billion in annual revenue from college sports — more than the estimated total league revenues of both the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League.
8. This year, the University of Alabama reported $143.3 Million in athletic revenues — more than all 30 NHL teams and 25 of the 30 NBA teams.
Do I need to give more? I will let you marinate like chicken ready for the barbeque.
The NCAA Athletics Pay Verdict
To draw a conclusion, I must say that at least the athletes that help produce massive profits should see some of that in return. I understand, and respect, that these are “student athletes”. However, it makes no sense to have this massive amount of money being generated and have the university and athletic departments become the beneficiaries. If those athletes help produce that enormous profit, then they should get some type of share of it.