College Athletes Should Be Paid

Source: Samantha Parish

Connor Woods

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The NCAA has become one of the most popular, and therefore most profitable businesses in the world; each year, the association has an income of over 900 billion dollars.  However, they enjoy the luxury of not having to pay their employees, college athletes.  This is extremely unfair, and leaves the athletes without income in their years at college. All college athletes should be paid.

Unlike their professional counterparts, college athletes get zero monetary compensation for playing their respective sports.  Many people fear paying college athletes because they believe it will ruin the integrity of the sports.  This is an absolutely misguided reservation.  In professional sports, players are paid, and paid well, yet there is no drop in intensity or motivation.  This would be the same with college players if they were given the chance.

Now, I’m not suggesting that these athletes get the outrageous 5 million dollar contracts you see everyday in the NFL and MLB.  Instead, just enough so that they can get through their college years comfortably, cover their tuition, housing, etc.  Between their athletics and regular school work, none of these athletes have the time nor energy to handle even a part time job.  Thus, they have no way of getting income during their years at college.  And when college sports brings in millions of dollars to the colleges themselves, it seems ridiculous that the players do not have the opportunity to share in the profit.

Again, they shouldn’t receive too much.  But when the main source of income for colleges is their athletic programs, how could these athletes not receive any compensation?

Another factor that prevents athletes from receiving salaries is that the big schools could simply pay more to get the better athletes, leaving the smaller schools with the “scraps”. However, this would be easy to counter, by simply implementing a nation-wide salary cap.  With salaries capped at a certain, reasonable amount for schools of all sizes,  the inter-school competition is eliminated, while the atheletes still receive what they deserve.

On the same note, not only could there be an uneven distribution of money between schools, but also within schools between athletes. However, this is as easy to solve as the above setback. In professional sports, football and basketball players certainly make more money than rugby and badminton players, and it should be the same in college. On a smaller scale than in the pros, the more profitable sports should get a higher payroll than the less profitable sports. Athletes should be paid according to how much income their sport brings into the school.

Although the payment of college athletes would be one of the most radical and controversial changes in sports history, it provides fair and appropriate compensation for the men and women who dedicate their lives to their sport throughout their college years.

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8 Responses to “College Athletes Should Be Paid”

  1. David Schmitt on February 18th, 2013 4:05 pm

    I think that the athletes are less victimized than you make them seem… A college education is an adequate salary; assuming players stay in school for 4 years, one can assume they would receive roughly $80,000 in tuition (and more than that at many private schools), not to mention a leg up in the job market after their playing days are over.
    Furthermore, college athletics are not actually that profitable. As recently as 2010, only 14 FBS football programs made money. If football, usually the biggest draw for a school, can’t make money for most programs, who’s to say that the bevy of smaller sports will even come close to breaking even?

    [email protected] Reply:

    The tuition is a key consideration, and there are many other benefits of four years of free athlete college life that go beyond the $80,000. For example free training, transportation etc.

  2. David Schmitt on February 18th, 2013 4:07 pm

    Apparently, only 12% of athletic departments make money

    [email protected] Reply:

    12% is still a significant number. I’d like to see what % of revenue they make as profit.

  3. zpacalin on February 19th, 2013 8:39 pm

    interesting article and great visual!

  4. shoover on February 19th, 2013 10:34 pm

    I don’t think that compensation would lead to a drop in intensity or motivation, but I do believe that most college athletes participate in the sport out of a genuine passion or out of a desire to get involved in their school community, not to get paid. In addition, saying all college athletes should be paid makes a broad statement. There are numerous sports teams available at a college, with countless participants, probably many of whom would not define their sport as their main priority. Essentially, this article proposes that any student involved in a sport at their college or university should have their tuition paid for. But that money goes towards improving their education, and removing that source of income for the college would take a hard blow on our secondary education system. I understand that there are many students out there who dedicate themselves to their sport and receive minimal recognition or compensation, which is quite unfortunate. But students who dedicate themselves to their sport sometimes receive scholarships, and while this is far from covering the bases of all students who have worked hard and devoted themselves to their sport, I believe the solution lies within improving scholarship programs, not paying all college athletes.

  5. sviswanathan on March 19th, 2013 10:39 pm

    I do not think college players should get paid. I think that still being in school, college athletes should do the sport because of the passion and desire to play. Moreover, I think that these players just happened to be great at the sports they do, and therefore can go into the professional league for that sport and get paid there. I do not see the need for them to get paid while still in college and not doing the sport as a profession.

  6. Katie Gaherty on May 24th, 2013 2:44 pm

    I do not think college athletes should be paid because you are still playing at a level where education is a priority and playing a sport is not. Since it is not clear whether college athletes will continue into a professional league, they should not be paid for it.

College Athletes Should Be Paid