James Wiseman NCAA
The suspension of James Wiseman is yet another example of why NCAA players need to get paid. | Image: Steve Dykes/Getty Images/AFP
  • James Wiseman was suspended for accepting recruitment money.
  • Players get punished for receiving financial assistance while NCAA executives make millions.
  • Student-athletes also face all the risk but get very little reward in the process.

On Wednesday, the NCAA announced on Twitter that James Wiseman must sit out a total of 12 games. The big man won’t be able to step on the hard court until Memphis plays South Florida on January 12, 2020. On top of the suspension, the potential number one draft pick must also donate $11,500 to a charity of his choice.

NCAA suspended James Wiseman
Memphis center James Wiseman is out until mid January | Source: Twitter

Wiseman’s family accepted $11,500 from Memphis coach Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway to finance the move from Nashville to Memphis. Recruiting inducement is a big no-no in college sports. However, this won’t be a problem if student-athletes got paid.

College Sports Bring In Lots of Money

The NCAA is a money-making machine. The sports body generates $11 billion in annual revenue. In other words, the NCAA is making more money than the NBA and the NHL combined. A paper published by the University of Michigan states that the league has become a cartel. A handful of administrators, athletic directors, and coaches are the recipients of most of NCAA’s wealth.

For instance, an NCAA executive earned nearly $2 million a year. Coaches of elite programs earn anywhere from $1.5 million to $8 million. On the other hand, players receive the right to study college at no cost plus a few hundred bucks to keep them from starving.

Molly Waldron, a former employee of the Seattle Mariners, stresses why players should receive compensation. She told CCN,

College sports and particularly college football bring in millions of dollars a year, and it’s time for athletes to start seeing some of the revenue from their contributions to these programs. While student athletes often do receive scholarships to play sports, that’s not enough.

Clearly, it is not enough in James Wiseman’s case. It appears that the parents of the Memphis star couldn’t afford to relocate and give their son a better future. Yet, NCAA’s top honchos are raking in tons of cash.

NCAA Players Like James Wiseman Take All the Risk

Have you ever heard of Derrick Roland? Probably not. That’s because the former Texas A&M high-flyer suffered a career-ending injury. During the 2009-2010 season, Roland was averaging 10.5 points per game while shooting at an impressive 48.9% from the field. He was projected to be a solid NBA Draft pick before the former Texas star broke his tibia and fibula.

That’s difficult to watch. Unfortunately, this is the reality that student-athletes face when they play in the name of their Alma Mater. In the NCAA, there are 20,718 football injuries per year and 841 of which are spinal injuries. This type of injury can effectively end the sports career of a player before it even starts. Sadly, they receive zero compensation for taking this risk.

James Wiseman is playing a position that’s most prone to injuries. A study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine followed 142 collegiate players over the course of two years. Researchers found out that 44.7% of players got injured. Centers had the highest injury rate.

Molly Waldron echoes our view. She said,

The physical toll that sports put on young peoples’ bodies and brains can last a lifetime. Paying college athletes would be an appropriate way to acknowledge the revenue that they bring in by entertaining fans, and for the sacrifices they make in the name of that entertainment.

No one is talking about the risks that student-athletes take whenever they play a game. Nevertheless, the physical risks are real yet players can’t even get a fee for signing an autograph. It’s time student-athletes got paid.

This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.

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