Should College Athletes be Paid?

PRE-PROPOSAL 1. Media Artifact

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue: 2. Persona and POV statement Personas and POV writing for the Michigan Student Caucus

Cooper Siegel and Scott Cohen


Danté Boulevard

19 Years Old

Plays collegiate basketball at the University of Michigan

Studies Kinesiology

“Basketball comes first”



  • Practices/trains for 6 hours a day  

  • 1 Child of 4 from a low income family

  • Has a very tight knit friend group



  • To one day buy a house for his mom

  • Graduate in 4 years

  • To one day be able to feed his kids every meal



Danté, a hard working student athlete


…needs a way to not go to bed hungry…


…because he comes from a low income family unable to provide him sufficient support, and his schedule demands too much time out of him to get a job...

1: University partners up with Food Gatherers to help provide paid-for meals and snacks for college athletes based on need.

2: University compensates players hourly/weekly as faculty members (such as a dining hall worker).

SOLUTION 3: University gives student-athletes unlimited meal plan


A 2012 bill (formerly bill 6074) proposed by Rep. Al Pscholka (R) that was passed into law in 2014 banned college athletes from unionizing. At the time, football players at Northwestern had recently unionized, causing controversy in the college football world. This law takes away college athletes’ ability to voice and make progress on their concerns and fight off possible infringements on their rights. Our proposal helps support those whose voice has been taken away; college athletes dedicated countless hours to their sports while the Universities profit off of their work. We learned about the underlying issues in our proposal by researching interviews with former and current college athletes, coaches, and athletic administrators on sports websites such as ESPN, and by talking to college athletes at the University of Michigan. Our service activity has showed us how many people in the state are food-insecure and how much they rely on services such as Food Gatherers for meals. Many college athletes come from similar backgrounds so we are seeking to gain protections and justice for them. Consultations

Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).

CONSULTATION 1: Kekoa Crawford- former U of M Wide Receiver.

Kekoa, having played college football for two full seasons now (two at michigan, currently at UCLA), he has boht seen firsthand and experienced himself how difficult it can become to maintain a normal life, support yourself, and still be able to prepare and perform at a top level. He told us about his teammates being tempted to take illegal payments just so they could get something to eat that night or help a family member at home make ends meet. Kekoa Supports paying college athletes, as they put in extreme amounts of work and actually produce revenue for schools.

CONSULTATION 2: Josh Richelew- U of M Asisstant Sport Administrator.

Believes that it is not the duty of the University to provide compensation to the players, as they knew what their role would entail when they agreed to attend the University. There's no completely fair way to pay all college athletes and maintain compliance from all types of athletes and keep support for smaller sports. Many are also already compensated fairly.

CONSULTATION 3: Adam Schuit- former Cornell Water Polo Player.

Supports paying athletes if done fairly, understands a sport like his doesnt bring in revenenue for the school, but athletes still dedicate large portion of time and effort. Does not think theres one simple solution. Seemed very worried at the prospect of money being used to bring in a top basketball or football recruit at the risk of cutting funding for a sport that does not produce revenue, such as his own. 

Consultation 4: National College Players Association (NCPA)

The NCPA is an organization that is built off of protecting the rights of college athletes as well as pushing for benefits that these young adults need given their rigorous time commitment. A lot of NCPA's missions involved protecting the safety and health of college athletes. Nonetheless, they also touched upon the compensation of college athletes. The NCPA belives that, "College athletes should have the same rights to secure employment and generate commercial revenue as other students and US citizens. Such a measure could be designed to increase graduation rates and allow universities to retain the most talented athletes for the duration of their eligibility."  The reasoning behind the compensation of these athletes is well thought out. They believe that paying these athletes more will motivate them to spend their entire eligibility at college and graduate with degrees. I believe that the NCPA's goal and our goal together would gain a lot of support in this world. 

Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

 Noah Bloom's advice helped us out tremendously. His reminder to connect the proposal to our service project and the Michigan State Legislature helped keep us focused in research and what not, not to mention his suggestions with research sites such as a student at Michigan who has done extensive research on the topic and a helpful article. 

Research process:

Our research process was a hiughly focused joint effort. We focused mainly on combatting popular arguments against why college athletes should be paid, such as many of them being on scholarship and them receiving academic advantages that wouldnt be there for them if not. We talked with different former and current college athletes, like Kekoa and Adam, along with administrators and people with knowledge on the topic, to get as full of a spectrum of replies that we could.

Author contributions:

 As I said, the research was largely a joint effort, as was the media artifact. Cooper worked more specifically on the POV/Persona statement, solutions, and research process. Scott worked more on the consultations, context, and TC advice/reaction.


The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.

WHEREAS....Students dedicate their time towards academics and athletics that there is no time available to get a job. 

WHEREAS....Due to the fact these student athletes do not get compensated and have no time to get their own job they are unable to earn money and support themselves. 

WHEREAS....Many student athletes are assumed to be under scholarship but 97% of them are not and incurr similar student debt as the avergae student. This coupled with dedicating their time towards the school without compensation leaves them in debt and struggle for day to day living neccesitties. 

WHEREAS....the state of Michigan has taken away student athletes' ability to unionize and effectively has turned its back on college athletes' thoughts and concerns.

WHEREAS....State is yet to recognize the exploitation of these student athletes as the universities are making profit off of the work and dedication these students give to the school. The students are not compensated for their time despite making the university money.

(Add more "Whereas" clauses if necessary.)

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).


1. The state mandates that students are compensated based off of hourly wages and are paid accordingly to the time they dedicate towards their program. For instance, a University of Michigan student worker for the dining halls are paid a certain amount of dollars per hour because of the time they dedicate to the university; this is how student athletes should get paid. 

2. The state mandates that Universities work with the National College Players Association to help ensure student athletes' are properly represented and have an active voice. 

3. The state mandates that student athletes are given extended access to the school dining halls. This suggestion makes sense because social lives, coupled with athletic dedication and academic dedication leaves these kids little time to go to the dining halls during normal operational hours. 

(Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)


What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

1. If this is done for student athletes then not only will the university funding go down tremendously, but this would most likely begin to take momentum across many schools and wages and be scewed and it can be seen as unmoral. Additionally how will smaller schools be able to fund this and their athletic department as well. 

2. There is no reason the university should spend their money on the student athletes meals. The student athletes were aware of the committment they chose coming into season and the university should not feel sympathetic towards their decision. The university is already providing tremendous opportunity. 

3. Giving these students heavy access to the university dining halls is an extreme liability issue on all aspects of health standards and would cause for question of judgment. 

Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?  

The cost for the proposal would come out of the profit the schools makes off of their athletics every year. For instance, the University of Michigan's budget expects there to be around a 2.5 million dollar surplus in revenue this year and that money could be used for compensation. The NCAA can also help provide funding for expanded budgets to these schools. In the three weeks of the 2017 NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament, the NCAA made roughly $900M while another estimated $9.2B was gambled on the event. With more and more states legalizing sports gambling, the NCAA and Universities can regulate and monitor the gambling, bringing in a lot of profit for their programs. Between the possibility of gaining revenue through sports gambling and the massive amounts of money the NCAA brings in off their premier events, it can be assumed that there is a sufficient amount of money leftover for athletes' compensation. 


Kekoa Crawford

Jacob Pinsel 

Joshua Richelew 


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Total votes: 15