As you read the passage below, consider how the author uses
1, evidence, such as facts or examples, to support claims.
2, reasoning to develop ideas and to connect claims and evidence.
3, stylistic or persuasive elements, such as word choice or appeals to emotion, to add power to the ideas expressed.
This passage deals with the issue of compensation for college athletes.
1 In the world of college sports, there is growing debate about whether student athletes should be awarded monetary compensation for their contribution to teams that garner millions of dollars for universities. Presently, the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), the governing body of college sports, doesn't allow it. Some hold this law as sacrosanct, saying it keeps college sports from becoming commercial and corrupting the experience of student athletes, who are in school, after all, for an education. But the reality is that we are past that point: college sports are big business, and the system that caps student salaries at zero is tantamount to wage fixing and collusion. If such practices happened in the investment market, universities would be fined by the FTC. 2 In a labor market, they'd be shut down. Student athletes are being defrauded and taken advantage of. 3 So how much money is at stake? Basketball and football are the two main sports in question. Every year, the month of March becomes synonymous with a weeks-long basketball bracket that winnows down 64 teams to the single best. In football, a season of stadium-filling regular season games culminates in half a dozen lucrative "bowl games" sponsored by some of the biggest corporations in the world: FedEx, AT&T, and Mobil Oil. 4 For television networks, advertisers, universities, and local businesses where the events are held, these games are every bit as big as the NFL's Super Bowl and the NBA playoffs. In 2011, ESPN and Fox signed television rights deals worth $3 billion to thePacific-12 conference. Forbes magazine reported that CBS and Turner Broadcasting make more than one billion dollars off the March Madness broadcasts, "thanks in part to a $700,000 advertising rate for a 30-second spot during the Final Four." One study put the value of a Texas A&M home game at $86 million for businesses in Brazos County, where A&M is located. 5 The dollar figures are indeed vast, and universities get their share. Here are two examples from schools with top football teams. According to the most recent federal data, the University of Texas football team netted a profit of $77.9 million in 2011-2012. Michigan made $61.6 million from football and $85.2 million in revenue. 6 Coaches, too, are a big part of the equation. Average salaries for major college football coaches have jumped more than 70 percent since 2006, to $1.64 million, according to USA Today. Nick Saban, head coach for Alabama, makes $7.3 million a year. 7 And yet, players take home no money. None. How can this be? Because, like unscrupulous tycoons from a Dickens novel, college presidents, athletic directors, and conference commissioners set their players' wages as low as they can get them-zero. 8 According to a recent study, if college football operated under the same revenue-sharing model as the NFL, each player on the Texas A&M squad would see a paycheck of about $225,000 per year. 9 All this talk of money might have you thinking that we should go back to square one and take the money out of college sports. But money is in college sports' DNA. It was conceived that way. It all grew out of the Morrill Land-Grant College Act of 1862. "As large public institutions spread into sparsely populated states, the competition for students grew fierce," says Allen Sack, a business professor at the University of New Haven. Football happened to be invented around that time, and schools took it up as a tool to draw students, and spectators, to campuses. 10 The 1894 Harvard-Yale football game, for example, generated $119,000, according to the New York Times. That's nearly $3 million in today's dollars. 11 The historic justification for not paying players is that they are amateur student-athletes, and the value of their scholarships is payment enough. But the NCAA's own study shows that its scholarship limit leaves so-called "full" scholarship athletes with $3,000 to $5,000 in out-of-pocket expenses each year. The average shortfall is $3,200. Furthermore, most scholarships are revokable, so if an athlete doesn't perform well on the field, or is injured, he can, in a sense, lose that compensation. A student athlete devotes 40 hours a week on average towards sport; that's equivalent to a full-time job. Zero pay and immediate termination with no recourse? Those are labor conditions that any sensible workforce would unionize to change. But students are powerless to change. They are up against the NCAA, the Big 10 commission, university boards, and the almighty corporate dollar. Someone needs to become their advocate and get student athletes the compensation they deserve.
Write an essay in which you explain how the author builds an argument to persuade his audience that student athletes deserve fair compensation. In your essay, analyze how the author uses one or more of the features listed in the box that precedes the passage (or features of your own choice) to strengthen the logic and persuasiveness of his argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage.
Your essay should not explain whether you agree with the author's claims, but rather explain how the author builds an argument to persuade his audience.
Anyone who watches NFL football every Sunday is most likely aware that the athletes on the field make a significant amount of money for their efforts. The NFL generates a lot of income from television contracts, corporate sponsors, and advertisers, and the teams themselves benefit from ticket and merchandise sales. The players in turn are paid market-appropriate salaries. Anyone who watches college football games on Saturday will see similar, if slightly younger athletes, yet how much are those players making? The author of this article correctly notes these players don't earn a salary, and that's something he would like to correct. His argument? College athletes deserve compensation for their work just like any other employee.
The author begins by detailing how much money corporations, athletic conferences, and universities make from advertising and sponsor revenue. The Pacific-12 conference, for example, "signed television rights deals worth $3 billion" Speaking of television, CBS and Turner Broadcasting made a lot of money as well-thirty seconds of commercial advertising during the Final Four cost $700,000. Schools with successful programs also do well. The article points out that the University of Texas football program netted $77.9 million In 2011-2012.
The author uses this evidence to portray corporations, athletic conferences, and universities as the "unscrupulous tycoons from a Pickens novel." Those familiar with Dickens can picture more than one wealthy character who doesn't care for the working poor left eking out miserable lives In relative poverty. And who are these working poor? Student athletes, of course! The author uses the Dickens metaphor to convince the reader that corporations, athletic conferences, and universities do not have the student athletes interests at heart. He then pivots to how much the athletes make for their efforts on behalf of the "unscrupulous tycoons'-absolutely nothing.
How much is the average student scholarship worth? According to the author, most leave a few thousand dollars in yearly out-of-pocket expenses to the student in spite of an average "forty hours a week" dedicated to their sport. And if an athlete is unable to play due to injury, even that scholarship money can be revoked. The author uses this information to compare a student athlete with an employee who benefits from federal and state labor laws. The comparison is painfully clear and made even more so when the author points out that student athletes do not have the right to unionize.
Throughout his essay. the author has effectively painted a Dickensian picture in which student athletes literally sweat, strain, and toil under the watchful eye of their universities, while those in power rake in millions of dollars.
The evidence presented convincingly leads the reader to one conclusion: that student athletes deserve to be compensated.