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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Plenty to gain from paying athletes

    There has been a great deal written about whether or not college athletes ought to be paid for playing for the colleges and universities.

    The problem is the over-commercialization of college sports made up of way too many corporate sponsors, too much fundraising in college athletic departments and too much pressure on young athletes to succeed — at times when they are still physically and mentally maturing. Due to the expectations athletes are forced to meet, they ought to be compensated for their performance.

    But one thing that has not been discussed enough is the economic impact of college athletics, not just on the colleges and universities themselves, but also on the wider local community.

    A 2011 study of the economic impact of UA football home games showed that Tucson earned nearly $62 million from home football games. This is largely thanks to the large sums of money spent on hotels, food and gas by many visitors who come to support the opposing team. Even if the UA doesn’t win, the Tucson economy still benefits.

    Additionally, the Arizona football and basketball departments benefit. A 2012 study from USA Today states the total revenue for UA sports in 2011 reached nearly $60 million. This money goes to pay for a litany of expenses, including paying folks in Arizona Athletics to do a variety of important things that helps them maintain a professional, marketable image.

    While many people complain that paying athletes at the collegiate level would make college sports more of an “industry,” it already is a multimillion dollar industry. It seems that, if anything, paying college athletes could simply add more to the economic engine of college athletic departments and of the communities that support the athletic teams. Remember, rising tides do lift all boats.

    Granted, there would have to be a highly effective paying scheme that would need to be developed, but so what? There are rules for how professional athletes earn their money and the gifts that they receive. Why not do the same for college players?

    According to, former UA men’s basketball star Aaron Gordon can expect to make an average of $4.1 million in the next two years. Similarly, former Wildcat basketball star Nick Johnson can expect nearly $778,000 in each of the next three years. Why not add a few more “jobs” to our economy and pay college athletes?

    We can lament that we have reached a point in our society where 18-year-old prima donnas get paid for their athletic prowess, but in a capitalist economy such as ours, there is plenty to gain — for them and for the rest of us.

    Casey Hoyack is a philosophy, politics, economics and law senior. Follow him on Twitter @Hoyack_

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