College Athletics: Pay-For-Play

In 2010, the NCAA signed a 14-year deal that totaled $10.8 billion dollars with CBS and Turner Broadcasting.

The NCAA reported in 2012 that 81 percent or $705 million out of the $871.6 million they took in that year was due to deals like the one they signed with CBS/Turner Broadcasting.

While Division-I is reaping the benefits of a $10.8 billion dollar deal, Winona State University isn’t able to meet the NCAA and NSIC standards for scholarships.

According to Winona State athletic director Eric Schoh, the school gives 59.10 scholarships to the women’s programs and 63.60 for the men’s programs, standards that were set by the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

During the 2014-2015 season, Winona State gave out 31.48 scholarships to the women’s programs and 38.39 to the men’s programs. This put Winona State in 9th place among the 16 teams in the NSIC.

Unlike Division-I, Schoh said when it comes to payment for scholarships, Division-II doesn’t give full-ride scholarships.

“We do have some in other sports, that get closer to a full-ride, but you’re $10,000 or $20,000 or whatever it is, that’s a pretty good payment,” Schoh said. “I have two sons in college and neither one is getting any money for the things that they’re doing.”

The most that Winona State can gives is between $1,000 and $20,000, a scholarship that can be renewed each year. Schoh said the school isn’t saving money by not spending to the NSIC’s limit.

“We’re spending what we have,” Schoh said. “If we had more, we’d give more.”

The tuition at Winona State is annually $17,167 for in state students and $22,864 for out of state students.

Schoh said no money that goes towards tuition is going to the sports budget.

“There’s no direct tuition dollars that generate a tutoring program or athletic program,” Schoh said. “Your tuition dollars come from the specific class that you’re taking. So I don’t know if Division II is ever going to be in a specific situation where we have that kind of dollars generated to where we can have that conversation.”

Schoh said the value of the education that a school like Winona State is giving, should be more than enough.

The University of Minnesota is considered to be a part of the “Power Five” conference, which includes: the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC and ACC.

Comparing the University of Minnesota and Winona State’s athletic budgets is quite different, with the University of Minnesota athletics having an annual budget of $96 million and Winona State’s budget of $5 million.

Schoh said, “At our level, with our budget, we’re generating about, in corporate sponsorships and ticket sales, $400,000, less than 10 percent of what the budget is. There is no revenue.”

Schoh said “about half” of the $5 million dollar budget is going to salaries and benefits, an amount Schoh said is close to what other student-related services receive.

A survey was conducted at Winona State university for the 375 student-athletes, asking about Pay-For-Play. Of those student-athletes, 57 responded across 10 sports that Winona State offers.

Of those 57 survey participants there were 24 students who said they believe college athletes should be paid, while 27 students said they believed they should be paid for their participation in their athletics at Winona State.

The numbers change when asked if colleges’ should be able to sell a student-athlete’s likeness, for example, a jersey that has that student-athlete’s name on the back. 41 students said they should receive some compensation for selling their likeness.

Former UCLA men’s basketball player Ed O’Bannon sued the NCAA, Electronic Arts, and Collegiate Licensing Company after seeing his character in a video game where they had his name on the back of the jersey. O’Bannon felt the company owed him money, just like the students felt about selling their likeness.

O’Bannon, Electronic Arts, and The Collegiate Licensing Company settled the court case in Aug. 8, 2014 for $40 million dollars, with money going to O’Bannon and other college athletes that were also in the game.

For jobs during the school year, 25 student-athletes said they worked during the school year. One student said they worked 21-30 hours a week and no more than 31 hours per week. There were 15 student-athletes who said they worked 1-10 hours per week.

That number increased dramatically for student-athletes working during the summer, more than doubling with 53 students saying they work during the summer and 32 students working more than 31 hours per week.

Schoh said there is a big difference between Division-I and Division-II athletics, outside of the money. Schoh doesn’t want Division-II athletics to become a “minor league for professional sports.”

Schoh said based off his experiences, student-athletes should be grateful.

“I’m starting to get to be one of the old guys in Division-II in our league and I remember working for two years for free, just to get my foot in the door to get a job,” Schoh said. “I never felt like I was being exploited or taken advantage of.”

Overall, Schoh believes that Division-II and Division-III can offer student-athletes a more complete experience, rather than a pipedream of becoming professional.

“I think it’s definitely more likely in Division II and Division III that you’ll stay the full four, five years because you’re probably not at that talent level,” Schoh said. “I think the culture and expectation is people understand you’re here for your education first.”

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