Should College Athletes Be Paid?

            A very controversial topic that has always been floating around in the world of sports is whether college athletes should be paid, or not? The most common answer to that is simply no. College athletes are already getting their school paid for! What else do they need? While the opposing argument could go along the lines as, most players won’t get a scholarship for all 4 years! They’re not all all-stars! As both of these reasons could be potentially correct, there are many more reason why college athletes should not be paid. Which side would you take?

The number of College athletes hit an all-time high this year, breaking the 450k mark, the number of NCAA athletes in the world today was recorded at 453,437 according Gary Brown and the NCAA’s Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates report. Of these 453 thousand student athletes not all them are getting school fully paid for. Some of these athletes come on the teams as walk-ons, others get partial scholarships, and then for athletes participating in bigger college athletics such as, football and basketball are getting higher amounts of scholarship money than others. At the division 1 level out of the 119 teams each team is allowed to hand out 85 scholarships. For some athletes this means 4 full years of college paid for, while for others this means 1 or 2 years paid for. While the cost of college seems to be increasing by the minute, any scholarship, or form of free money you can get, you should jump on immediately. The average amount for an athletic scholarship is $25,000, according to reporter Tyson Harnett. With this $25,000 scholarship, what else do athletes need money from the school for? Most college students will be leaving school with unimaginable amounts of debt, and loans. For athletes receiving scholarships this potential life ruining debt can be completely eliminated. So again what is the point of paying college athletes?

You can show as many stats as you want, and to many the numbers mean nothing. But the numbers aren’t the only reason college athletes should be paid. College athletes shouldn’t be paid simply because that is not what college sports is about. College sports are about the love of the game, and achieving the same goal as any other sport, winning, getting the championship, be crowned number 1. In a recent press conference regarding the controversial topic, American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco shows his opinion quite clearly, stating “We will not pay players. That is not what college athletics is all about, and it is the road to ruin.  We will not establish an employer-employee relationship.” Also at the media conference executive director of the Ivy League, Robin Harris states “If the student-athletes want to be paid, they have to find someplace else to play,” Aresco, and Harris both exemplify their personal opinions on the topic, and cut right to it. Athletes should not, and will not be paid. Simply because college athletics are not about the money, but for the love of the game. When you look at professional athletes play vs. college athletes you can usually see a clear difference. Both have the same goal as getting crowned as the best, however in professional leagues, money is another main motivator. Some professional players have even sat themselves out because they aren’t getting paid as much as the next guy. The money can change you very easily. Save the greediness until you’re out of college.

Although many believe athletes should not be paid, there are still many who believe they should get some kind of small allowance. After the topic was brought up to the American Athletic Conference the idea was proposed that college athletes receive a small allowance of and extra $2,000. This brought about many questions, and a lot of support for their argument. Many don’t realize how tough it can be to be a college athlete. Being on the lacrosse team here at Western, I personally know how tough it can be. The commitment it takes is huge. The multiple meetings a week, film sessions, daily workouts, daily practice, weekly games, traveling, study hours, and other events we attend is quite stressful. On top of all of this is the stress from school. Many believe being a student athlete is just like a full time job, and receiving a small allowance for occasional activities on their down time would be acceptable. With the slight amount of down student athletes have, you most likely will not have time for an actual part time job. So how do they get money when they need it? Not all students are still funded by their parents, most cases if you want money, you go get a job and make money. But getting a job requires time, which is something student athletes don’t get much off. The time management and balancing of athletics and education is a daunting task. So why not toss players a little extra cash for when they need it? The NCAA, Colleges, and Universities are all just big business anyway. The amount of money colleges, and universities pull in is unimaginable, not to mention the amount of money athletics draw in too. Through donations, ticket sales, media rights, advertising, and anything else with a price tag, these athletes are symbols for their college and their program. So again, with all this money, why not pay players? If players are bringing in so much money for their school, why shouldn’t they get a small portion of the money?

Many athletic directors don’t believe they should be paid but, set up with a trust fund. Warren Zola, assistant dean of the graduate programs at Boston College proposed the idea of the Student athlete trust fund. Zola proposed the idea by “Creating a "Student-Athlete Trust Fund” which would hold a percentage of revenue generated by television and licensing contracts and place it into a trust for student-athletes to access upon the completion of their collegiate careers.” With this idea athletes who have no time to work during their years in college can at least have some something there for them when they leave college. Most players won’t make it into the professional leagues, so knowing some kind of money is there is quite reassuring.

Although it is true, being an athlete is just like having a full time job, and they do not have time to get a job opposed to some students in college. However, being an athlete doesn’t mean you should get any form of special treatment. The treatment athletes get to begin with is just about enough. Living in different dorms than non-athlete students, free gear, and a high status around campus. Being a student athlete takes a very large amount of commitment, but the reward they get for this equals more than enough money for student athletes to start demanding a pay. Executive director Robin Harris said it best in a recent media conference”[O]ur general philosophy is that our athletes should be treated as close as possible to our students.  That’s a guiding principle,” cutting straight to the point, Harris explains how student athletes are just like other students on campus. Everyone’s human! Student comes first, then athlete. Hence the name “Student” athlete!

Works Cited

Brown, Garry. NCAA Student-athlete participation hits 450,000. N.p.:, n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2013.

Galehouse, Dave. Odds for an athletic scholarship don't depend on participation numbers. N.p.:, n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2013.

Hartnett, Tyson. Why college athletes should be paid. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2013.

Heitner, Darren. College Athletes Should Not Expect Stipends Because The Amateur Model Is More Important. N.p.:, n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2013.

Westfall, Leah. Athletic Scholarships - Who gets them and how many are there? N.p.:, n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2013.

Zola, Warren. Should NCAA athletes be paid? N.p.: debate club, n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2013.