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Allison Broschart

In “College Athletes of the World, Unite,” Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar argues that college athletes are being exploited by the NCAA because they refuse to adequate compensate athletes for their dedication. Abdul-Jabbar reflects on his time as a college athlete, explaining how even his jobs over breaks and scalping his season tickets did not get him enough money to make ends meet. Abdul-Jabbar mentions that those on sports scholarship would lose it if they were injured and could not play. He argues that, even though the NCAA would give compensation for injury, it was only if medical bills were over $90,000, or the injury was so severe that the athlete would never be able to play again. According to him, both of those scenarios were highly unlikely, leaving college athletes to figure their medical bills out themselves. Abdul-Jabbar goes on to say that the NCAA and his college both raked in millions of dollars, but they assumed a full-ride to the school was enough.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar theory of college athletes being exploited by the NCAA is extremely useful because it sheds light on the difficult problem of whether or not they should be financially compensated. I think in the situation Abdul-Jabbar describes, players should be able to make money off of their number, face, etc., since they lack the free time to get a part-time job. If not, they should be financially compensated, which is doable by the NCAA and universities, alike. College athletes put tons of time and energy into their sport, enough to constitute some sort of pay. In regards to injury, I believe that Abdul-Jabbar brings up a good point that the NCAA’s injury compensation is not fair. Players should not have to worry about paying their medical bills and losing their scholarship if they are injured. So much dedicated to a sport should mean something to those in the business, enough so that they compensate those athletes accordingly.

justin time


Hannah Butler

Abdul-Jabbar makes many great points in his argument for paying student-athletes. While I agree with many of the ideas he has, I disagree with his overall conclusion. Collegiate athletes do put in time and work for the school they also receive much in return, but not enough. The education and experiences gained are priceless, but at the same time they should be fully compensated for the cost of college. Like Abdul-Jabbar stated, the average college athlete needs $3,200 more than what is provided for things such as laundry, books, and food. I feel that student-athletes should not become employees of the university, but at the same time these additional costs should be covered. Additionally, if athletes were guaranteed a four-year scholarship this would reduce the risk of losing scholarship money and dropping out due to injuries. On the contrary, I do think that players deserve to have the right to make money off of their likeness. If they are putting in enough work to get noticed and someone is willing to pay for their autograph, jersey, etc., they deserve to accept that reward. Overall, I do not believe that student-athletes should receive payment from the university, but I do think they should be able to receive payment from outside sources.

Maggie J

In the article, "College Athletes of the World, Unite" by Kareem Abdul-Jabar, he is stating the exploitation of college athletes on scholarships. He uses his personal experience throughout the article to make the issue more relatable. Kareem makes very good points about how even though he was an amazing basketball player, he struggled off the court with financial problems. The purpose of his article is to shed light on the restrictions athletic scholarships have as opposed to academic scholarships. Kareem states how he struggled to provide for himself simply off of his spring break and summer job money because part of the restrictions is that athletes cannot earn money beyond the scholarship. He states that academic scholarships have a lot more benefits than athletic scholarships. Kareem Abdul-Jabar wants to create awareness to this issue in the hopes of helping current college athletes.

Mitchell Rose

I don't think the NCAA should have such strict rules when it comes tho their players. Even in college they have strict rules that say they can't have a job or any outside source of money yet they are starving because they don't have money for food. They live and breath the sport but are being penalized for it. They should be allowed to get food from a coach or be able to have a job but instead the NCAA want to keep them under their thumb.

Bernard L.

I have to agree with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, something needs to be done so college athletes are, at the least, able to get by without stressing about finances. For a college athlete to lose their scholarship because they got injured playing in a game for their school is absolutely ridiculous. In addition, to not have their medical bills paid is totally unjustified. More needs to be done to protect these players. Yes, they are extremely lucky to be given the opportunity they are, but, to kick them to the curb because they are no longer useful is morally wrong.

Shelby H.

I think its is unfair that the players are not allowed to make money outside of the NCAA but the coaches are, and they are getting paid as well, and becoming millionaires. The players have to make money somehow and its ridiculous that they can't accept jobs outside of NCAA, they NEED to get a paycheck. The players have bills and such to pay, yes they've received a scholarship but everything else in the world isn't free to them. They are practically poor and all they are doing is playing their favorite sport to become what paupers?


The rules that the NCAA enforces on the student athletes are not very fair. Their rules have many problems, as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar discusses. He talks from personal experiences saying he did not have enough money for food and other essentials for living. He was a reason that his college was getting thousands of dollars, yet he wasn't seeing any of that money, instead he was struggling like many of the other student athletes. The student athletes put in so much work, doing it and biting their tongues because it's what they love, but get little in return. Yes they get tuition, room, and board, but it's not a lot to live on, compared to the students with academic scholarships who are allowed side jobs, supplies, transportation, and entertainment. Also, unlike the student athletes, those with academic scholarships don't have to worry about injuries that could cost them their careers and education. This article is similar to the documentary "Schooled: The Price of College Sports" in that they discuss how these student athletes are being exploited, such as being a character in a video game unknowingly and not even getting paid. The NCAA needs to change its' rules so these students are treated more fairly and have a better chance at being successful. Kareem compares this to the under aged sweat shop workers in other countries, I wouldn't say it's as harsh, but I think it's a good comparison in that these students are being worked hard with unfair return when everyone else is profiting, essentially in both situations, they are slaves.

Daniel Gatta

I strongly agree with Shelby and feel that the current system implemented by the NCAA is extremely unfair for the players. She brings up a great point on how these athletes need money to pay bills and for other necessities. I agree and believe that division one athletes deserve compensation for not just paying bills, but for helping out their family members who may still reside in broken homes, groceries, and leisurely activities. These athletes dedicate almost all of their time as a college student to their craft and definitely deserve more than what they are currently receiving. In this article Abdul-Jabbar reflects on his college experience and recalls how he never had enough money to do things he needed and wanted to do. I do not believe that these students deserve to be making millions of dollars, but they do deserve to make a decent amount of money to live a comfortable life while playing a sport in college.


This is so crazy! I can't believe people are being treated so poorly when giving their all for something that they love to do. I feel it is so unfair to keep money from the people who have earned it the most. These coaches are getting paid crazy amounts of money, which they deserve for leading such great teams to victory, but it's not fair to not pay the team who brings these colleges such great reputations and revenue.

Andrew McElhinny

I would agree with what Kareem argues throughout his article. These college athletes who bring in serious money for the school deserve to be paid, even if it is just enough to get by. None of these students should have to worry about money or making ends meat if their coach is making close to seven figures a year off their athletic skill. He states in his article that the people with academic scholarships can make some money on the side but the athletic scholarships recipients cannot, and i find that completely unfair.

Quintin Brinkley

Bernard makes a good point when he mentions that student athletes sometimes don't get adequate medical coverage. Most times when athletes make a claim to cover their procedures, they are not given sufficient coverage necessary to afford the rehabilitation and treatment in order to get healthy. If medical expenses fail to exceed $90,000, they are expected to pay for all of the expenses. The NCAA is a multi-billion dollar industry and proper care and treatment should be in place for athletes who are risking their career every time they practice or compete. Kareem is arguing in favor of compensating student athletes for their work and I agree that the NCAA may need to fix some of their regulations to allow for compensation to take place.

Taylor Malseed

Just as many of the comments above believe the rules that the NCAA enforces on college athletes are unfair, I do as well. In the article, Abdul-Jabbar reflects on his personal experience and argues college athletes should be financially compensated. Ginessa makes a great point here that these colleges are bringing in thousands of dollars because of these athletes yet the athletes aren’t seeing any of that money. College athletes put countless hours into their sport and deserve some sort of pay or the option of having a part time job. Just as anyone else, these athletes need money to pay bills, buy necessities, and provide for themselves/families. Going off of what David said I do agree athletes should not be making millions of dollars but most definitely enough to live a comfortable life without the constant stress or fear of being in debt.


I agree with Hannah Butler that student-athletes should not be considered employees of the university, but they should be able to make money from their name. Abdul-Jabbar makes great points that student athletes oftentimes struggle financially because they are not able to have a part-time job like other students on academic scholarship because of how much time athletics take up. I believe that all student-athletes should be given a full scholarship to attend the university as payment for playing because a free education is worth more than just paying students directly. Along with this, college athletes should be allowed to make money from their name because they do not have any other means of making money while being a student-athlete. While there is no perfect way to handle this issue, the NCAA definitely needs to reconsider allowing student-athletes to make money without directly giving them a paycheck.

Max Hardin

Many people hit on some of the ideals I took away from this article, like Shelby, stating that she things it's unfair that the players are not allowed to make money outside of the NCAA but the coaches are, which I completely agree with. However, I disagree that these athletes are mistreated when they're going to school for a mere $3200 a year (much less than most everyone going to college), with a multitude of player "meals" and "travel necessities" they receive, because my experience with talking to student athlete friends confirms it. While Abdul-Jabbar uses 11 year olds making shoes as a comparison, I hardly see this is fit because these Cambodian girls are making the shoes student athletes get for free. While Quinitin brings up a good point that athletes could get hurt at any point and be in a world of debt, they are ultimately doing what they love to do (Nadia's statement) while receiving fame all the while, as these Cambodian girls are pretty much slaves. If Abdul-Jabbar wanted to make a pitch for paying college athletes, he should have avoided using much less fortunate examples because it takes validity from his argument and makes him look extremely ungrateful when people have it well worse. Abdul-Jabbar's net worth is said to be $20 million; if he were to only give up half his worth (still living off a hefty $10 million), he could pay for over 830 student athletes college careers.

Michael Rapp

Many of the comments in this conversation have been to the point that the college athletes are not being compensated for their work and dedication to the sport. I could not agree more with this statement, however I seem to disagree with the majority of the comments on how the process of compensation should occur. Many of you such as Max and Hannah, state that the athletes should be allowed to receive money from outside sources as opposed to the University they are playing for. I respectfully disagree with that statement because although I believe that players should get paid for their hard work, I still think it should be monitored. It is not fair to the multitude of athletes who are playing for schools that are advertised less, and televised less. The less exposure an athlete has, the less money they will accrue, even though both athletes put in the same amount of effort for their team. Therefore, money to cover expenses should be through the schools. That way each athlete, no matter the school or skill will receive the same amount of money. The money should cover food, leisure activities, laundry, and other assorted expenditures associated with a college student. The student-university relationship needs to be changed into a symbiotic relationship. The athlete will enjoy playing for the school with no financial worries, and the university will enjoy having the players on their team so that the University's name and brand will grow.

Campbell Douglas

Max I'm going to have to disagree with you bud. You made an interesting point about how if "Abdul-Jabbar's net worth is said to be $20 million; if he were to only give up half his worth (still living off a hefty $10 million), he could pay for over 830 student athletes college careers." However, I believe that there is a more reasonable way to accomplish your goal of paying for these athletes instead of asking a single man to give up half of what he worked his entire life to earn. Each team in the SEC receives $20 million in TV revenue each year. That does not include merchandise, ticket sales, etc., just TV revenue. So each school could take that and probably pay for most of their student athletes and still turn a profit likely. This is true for all of the Power 5 conferences, albeit the SEC brings in the most TV money per year.

Drew Latour

Although I agree with Hannah Butler up to a point, I cannot accept her view that student athletes should not be paid by the college/university they play for. Colleges and universities are the sole beneficiary of the performances of student athletes, that is, they are the ones directly profiting from the students. Yes, they are receiving professional training at the hands of the institution they play for, but this training is only to improve that players skills which are directly linked to profits made by the school that player plays for. To say that this professional training has a monetary value would be correct, but that monetary value is more for the institution than it is for the player who is putting his/her body on the line.

Naz Jack

In “College Athletes of the World, Unite,” I would have to agree with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's understanding of collegiate athletes and compensation. Players put all their time and energy in the sports that they are playing. With this, they are making the university look good as well. When everything is going great, the universities benefits from the player(s). It does not matter if it is from a 2 or 3 hour game of football, basketball, etc, the university is going to rack in millions. Now the athletes that are injured for the sake of the university are not treated fairly, when the organization does not care about how the medical expenses are going to get taken care of. Paying the athlete a bit of compensation would not hurt the schools, why should they care? They will be bringing in millions anyway.

Ethan DeWaal

In my response to your argument Drew, I believe paying college student-athletes in not the correct solution because of the unwillingness to change the NCAA has shown in the past. Instead of continuing to argue about something that hasn't made much progress, I believe both sides need to compromise. I believe the best solution is for the NCAA to provide student athletes with the "full-cost" of attending college, provide better health coverage for athletes, and to only provide guaranteed four year scholarships regardless of performance or injury.

Ethan DeWaal

Forgot to edit the first one :)

In my response to your argument, Drew, I believe paying college student-athletes is not the best solution to this debate because of the unwillingness to change the NCAA has shown in the past. Instead of continuing to argue for the NCAA to pay athletes, which hasn't made much progress, I believe both sides need to compromise. I believe the best solution is for the NCAA to provide student athletes with the "full-cost" of attending college, provide better health coverage for athletes, and to only provide guaranteed four-year scholarships regardless of performance or injury.

L McCoy

In response to Mitchell, I agree that the NCAA should have less strict rules when it comes to their players. In college players devote their lives to the sport, they have strict class schedule, practices, and study halls. On top of all of that they aren't allowed to work. This presents a major issue for the player, such as where they will get their money. If they take money from people or get any momentary compensation outside of the confines of the NCAA they are penalized. So what are they supposed to do? This is a question that should be answered by the NCAA.

Madison Walters

Shelby makes a great point here that College athletes should be able to have the opportunity to earn a paycheck outside of the university. While it is impeccable that they work hard in their respected sport, it shouldn't consume their life. In a worst case scenario, an athlete could be injured their final year of eligibility, and are no longer capable of continuing their career in playing sports. In such a case, they are left stranded with no job or professional experience due to the strict restraints the NCAA placed on them during their college career. In conclusion, I believe that student athletes should be able to work and have other opportunities to increase their success aside from their athletic success.

A. Schwarz

In his article Kareem Abdul-Jabar argues that collegiate athletes need to be paid. His argument centers on the fact that athletic scholarships do not typically cover the full cost of tuition. Food, transportation, and fun were not covered in his scholarship. Abdul-Jabar had to work summers , spring break and scalp tickets to cover his expenditures. Abdul-Jabar then proceeds to explain how since his time the NCAA has grown into a billion dollar industry and under compensates athletes. They do a little, like paying for likenesses and helping out with injuries but even this falls short. Abdul-Jabar finishes with explaining how the NCAA treatment of its athletes is similar to big corporations, such as Nike, exploiting Asian workers.
I do agree with Abdul-Jabar on the fact that scholarships should cover the full cost of tuition and should also be guaranteed. I disagree on his argument that athletes should be paid. In most Universities only football and basketball operates in the black. The rest of the sports end up costing the university money to put on. The people that make the money is the NCAA but they do not give the scholarships. In order to compensate for them making money the NCAA could better compensate the university so the university could better compensate the athletes.

A. Schwarz

I agree with Naz Jack in that athletes should be paid. They put in a lot of time and energy into their sport and are not compensated. Also, their "payment" of a scholarship does not protect them if they get injured. I would like to point out that not all sports bring in money to the University. In fact, most sports run in the red. Football and basketball are typically the only ones that bring in money while the less publicized sports actually lose money. This raises the question of whether some sports should be paid more or at all. I feel this would be a question for the University to answer.

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