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Should College Athletes Get Paid?

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Every year one of the most lucrative sporting events happens from the middle of March to the beginning of April. This event is called March Madness. March Madness is when the best sixty-eight college basketball teams come together and play for one goal: the National Championship. Even though this event is so lucrative, the athletes are not receiving any money for participating, which many people think is unfair. The question of if college athletes should get paid or not is a very large debate in the sports community right now. I will argue that college athletes should not get paid.

Many people will say that college athletes should get paid because they think that all the money the athletic program receives goes to a bunch of guys in suits like a company or something. This is not the case. When a program receives money, it goes right back into the athletic program so the program can be made better. This money will make facilities better, hire better coaches, and make travel more comfortable for the athletes.

Another reason why college athletes should not get paid is because the logistics of paying collegiate athletes would not work. Basketball and Football are generally the only sports making money for an athletic program. So if college athletes were to be paid, would you pay just the sports that are making money or all sports? When you start giving money to college athletes you run into the problem of who should and deserves to get paid and how much should they get paid. This question is a big reason for why college athletes should not get paid.

One more problem with college athletes getting paid is that the universities just do not have the money for it. According to USA Today, only seven Division 1 athletic programs did not receive subsidy money. Not many athletic programs end up making more money than they spend. Athletes will go to the few schools that make a lot of money on athletics because they can pay them more than the schools who do not make money on athletics. Instead of athletes asking the question what program fits me the best, they will be asking the question who can pay me the most money.

College athletics need to stay amateur because it will not work to pay college athletes. Also, it is not like college athletes get nothing for what they do, many of them get all of their college paid for by scholarships. A free education is a big deal because as all of us know, college is not cheap. College athletics do bring in a lot of money but because of logistics and the fact that not all programs make money, college athletes should not get paid.

Reference: Berkowitz, Steve, Jodi Upton, and Erik Brady. “Most NCAA Division I Athletic Departments Take Subsidies.” USAToday.com. N.p., 1 July 2013. Web. 18 May 2016.

By Charlie Watkins

Charlie Watkins is a senior in high school and plays both basketball and baseball.  He has always had a huge interest in sports, and plans to study Sports Management in college next year.  Charlie hopes to become an Athletic Director for a Division 1 University some day.

9 COMMENTS

  1. As the others before me, I do agree that college athletes should not be paid. What I do believe is that their tuition, housing, and anything the need for their sports should be taken care of by the college. Those costs would be minimal to the school versus paying the athletes a salary, and they could invest the money back into the program that would pay for the athlete’s necessities. I also agree with your point, if you are going to pay an athlete in one sport, you should pay for an athlete in all sports. One athlete is not better than another athlete. Also there wouldn’t be a fair amount of money per athlete across the board since only a few of the colleges make a profit.

  2. I think should be a profit sharing venture. If the football team makes over $20 million for the season pay the players. You should only pay the players that play at least 15 mins in at least 1/3rd of the games. Just a thought there would be no money if they did not play think of that!!

  3. This is a thoughtful argument against athletes getting paid. Much of the revenue from sport does go back to the universities to aid in their development. While it might not be positive that schools become more prestigious due to the efforts of their unpaid athletes, the alternative is not acceptable ethically. A few issues would come up if athletes were paid. As was well-stated in the article, determining what proportion of money goes to different sports would be a huge issue. It would not make sense for the athletes from the big-money sports to get paid proportionately more. It would also not make sense to pay the lower income sports equally. Either case would set up situations where widespread animosity, resentment, and potentially violent situations would develop amongst student athletes. Additionally, if athletes were paid, there would be a massive issue with young men and women dealing with their incomes. It is likely that a sense of entitlement and superiority would develop, beyond even what currently exists. When a sense of entitlement exists, so does higher levels of deviance.

  4. I completely agree that college athletes should not get paid because there is no way every college athlete could get paid. The way I look at it is the athletes that are receiving a full scholarship to go to college are getting their education for free. The other athletes are playing in hopes to play professionally one day or just because they love the sport and want to play as long as they can. Paying college athletes would just take away the excitement and fun that people have watching the sports. I know I would rather watch college sports than professional sports because college athletes are not getting paid and play more for the love of the game rather than the dollar amount they get in a check like professional athletes. When I was a college athlete, never once did I every thought about getting paid for playing a sport. I did it for the love and passion I had for the sport, it was never about wanting money for all of the hard work I put in. College is supposed to be about having fun and getting your education, not getting paid. The athletes that do move onto professional sports can wait until the time comes but until then they need to enjoy their time playing in college before that happens.

  5. I agree with you that college athletes should not get a set amount from the school. Like you mentioned, it would be too difficult for smaller schools to pay the athletes, as well as, there would be an uproar over how much should be paid to who. If you paid everyone the same, the football players would say, well we bring in more money, we ought to be paid more. If you pay every sport differently, the smaller sports would be upset. However, I believe college athletes should be able to make money using their own likeness. I think if Johnny Manziel wants to sign autographs for an hour, and someone would pay him to do that, he should be allowed to do that. If the NCAA and the university can make money off of Johnny Football, why can’t Johnny Football make money off of Johnny Football. Understandably, this opens the door, and this is why the NCAA does not want to go down that road, but with so many bright minds in the NCAA, they should be able to come up with something that will benefit the player, school, and NCAA. Thanks for your opinion.

  6. I agree with your argument that college athletes should not be paid. Most of them receive full athletic scholarships to play for their university. The purpose of attending college is to go to school to become what a professional in the community. Most Division I athletes have the chance to play professionally, where they will be paid eventually. Students who are not athletes and are successful in college, do not get paid for being in clubs, fraternities, or sororities. This argument is no where near being resolved so until then, let us enjoy college sports and the entertainment they bring us.

  7. I understand what you mean about many schools can not afford to pay athletes and the athletes do get an education from the school. Those things may be true, however the schools that are making extra money are making a lot extra. The school is not the only entity making money off these athletes. Companies who sell jerseys, video games, and memorabilia are making money off the likeness of athletes. That money making business is in-turn a type of free advertisement for the school. When college athletes get scholarships for their education, many of them are only getting that. They cannot have jobs to pay their bills, they can only get their academics covered and must survive off whatever they can get by with. If they are too high profile and try to get a job, they risk the NCAA saying they got their job because of their athletic status and losing the ability to participate in sports. It’s a fine line and a tough argument that will not be solved anytime soon.

  8. I agree with you on your points you addressed concerning the logistics with the teams who bring in the money. As well as how you addressed how a program reuses the money it receives to better the athletics of the school and the treatment of players.
    But I would have to argue that the amount of time and effort that players put into there sport proves that there should be some sort of monetary gift given after the season. Many players don’t have the same freedoms that other college students do because when there in season there focus is not only there particular sport but also there academics.
    Grant it some sports provide bigger financial gains toward the school than others. But any college program could set a amount that is fair to all players receiving regardless of there sport or there spot on the teams roster.

  9. I understand the rationales of why college athletes should not get paid but those rationales are coming from the athletic department perspectives.
    First of all, college athletes are not being treated as student athletes. Its more like athlete student becausse of the rigorous amout of time spent practicing their sport. secondly, most the athlete are not being academically challenged so they can be eligilable to perform. Some wont graduate and most that graduate dont usually end up with professional job because of their lack of professional work experience.
    As formal college athlete, I know firtst hand what I it takes to become a sussful college athlete. Some of those athlete have family of their own so they invest all their time into athlete and academic become a atherthought. I say they should be paid a set amount or just paid the ones that make it to the championship.

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