Issue of Paying College Athletes Or not


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Athletes all over the world’s dream goals are to make it to a point in life where they can get paid for what they do best. Getting paid for something one has worked so hard for in life and enjoys what they do can feel like the biggest achievement, especially when one feels very passionate about what they have accomplished. College athletes don’t get paid because then that would mean players are getting bribes from their colleges. Not paying athletes hurts them on a personal level because they are also still just college students that go through the college struggle at the end of the day. Paying college athletes would help them on and off the playing field in positive ways.

For most people, money can provide peace of mind and pleasure to one’s life especially when they well deserve the pay. College athletes train and practice most of their life to get to the point where they want to get to, “Many college athletes bring in a lot of revenue for their universities and the NCAA. Even their coaches get paid–sometimes millions of dollars. It’s unfair for the players who bring in so much money and fame for their schools to not get a single penny” (Vardaan). Since the players bring in most of the money to the school, why shouldn’t they also get a cut? The athletes receive none of the revenue and since they don’t make any of the money it would mean that they are left with nothing from all that hard work, “Playing a college sport can be like working a full-time job, college athletes sometimes put in 40 to 60 hours each week for practices, travel, and games”(Vardaan). College athletes basically spend their time mostly focusing on the sport and training, yet they receive none of the revenue that the school makes. Allowing the players to get paid for the hours they put in for the sport allows them to make a sort of living of the sport. Allowing the students to make an income off the revenue provides income to college athletes who do not have time to work part-time jobs since they are always either focusing on school or improving their game on the playing field.

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Economically, college athletes deserve to get paid concerning the amount they bring to the schools. College athletes are advertised on the school’s social media and news, this allows the school to make a sale of the players’ names. Allowing the players to get paid will help and show a sign of relief. 90% of college athletes that received a waived tuition were financially unstable, “A report entitled ‘The Price of Poverty in Big Time College Sport’ confirms that 85 percent of college athletes on scholarship live below the poverty line” (Edelman). Paying the players would help tremendously since players don’t receive any financial assistance. College athletes could end up worrying too much about things that a college athlete wouldn’t want to worry about since they already have enough going on. For example, financially unstable players would have to worry about where their next meal would be coming from since they aren’t receiving any money.

Roughly about 11 billion dollars are brought in as revenue from all endorsements, ticket sales, and jerseys. Edelman explains how much exactly are the schools making off the players, “Fifty colleges report annual revenues that exceed $50 million. Meanwhile, five colleges report annual revenues that exceed $100 million. These revenues come from numerous sources, including ticket sales, sponsorship rights, and the sale of broadcast rights” (Edelman). The amount that is made is absurd after the players play their hearts out on those fields and possibly can put their bodies on the line and still end up receiving none of the revenue that they bring in. If a college athlete gets injured on the field they would have to worry about getting treatment. Treatment isn’t always free for all athletes depending on their situation and it can be very expensive. The player getting injured can cause themselves to go into debt because most players are financially unstable meaning they won’t be able to pay off the hospital bill. Considering that the players are not making any money off of the sport they play in college, it can have a toll on them. That player now has to face the burden of paying off hospital bills due to their sport-related injury and chances are that they can’t even play anymore.

College athletes aren’t allowed to get paid by any means from the revenue they pull in from playing college ball. Allowing players to get paid will stop corruption on and off the playing field. Despite the rules preventing these actions, coaches, agents, and other industry professionals often find a way to pay recruits to join their college. This is all done so the public eye doesn’t catch on to the scheme because then there would be a lot of suspensions and fines. Using money to bring in high school students can be a big issue if caught the person in charge can get a felony. Allowing college athletes to be paid would help to limit this issue, it would reduce investigation costs, “we keep having pay scandals involving amateur athletes. Now a legendary college football coach has come up with this solution: Pay them above the counter rather than under the counter” (Neuharth). Allowing players to receive revenue can allow the league to pay players and be open about it and not receive any consequences.

Most college athletes receive an award of a scholarship so they can come to play for the college and attend the university. The scholarship allows the student-athletes to make sure their time there is being taken care of, for example, a full waived tuition. Although playing for the college of your choice can also be a dream it can come with negatives. Playing for college ball can affect the players financially because scholarships don’t always cover every expense. College athletes have to worry about their personal expenses and well-being, receiving a scholarship doesn’t mean that you’re covered for the time you are here. Players have to worry about paying their cell phone bills, paying the electric bill to their apartments, they even have to worry about getting a flight home to visit family. Scholarships don’t cover everything since most players are sitting on an inconsistent income this would mean yet again players wouldn’t be able to pay much of their expenses. Colleges make such revenue that paying the players minimum wage for the time they put in on the sport would make a huge difference in their lives while not affecting the college’s finance as “The NCAA men’s basketball tournament alone generates more than $600 million in TV ad revenue each year, second only to the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl. College football bowl games bring in more than $300 million. With student-athletes under tremendous pressure to perform well in their sports, especially in these huge events, it’s time for them to get a share of the earnings” (Shenolikar). Most profits from college athletes do not go toward academics. Instead, they go to the coaches, athletic directors, and administrators. College athletes do not need to receive big salaries like their coaches; rather, they could still be paid a reasonable amount relative to how much the program makes. Even a few extra hundred dollars per year could compensate for the lack of time these students have to earn spending money at a regular part-time job.

Granting college athletes the ability to make money off their name, player contribution to outstanding performances, or advertisements would entitle players to an income of some sort. Allowing players to make an income will motivate them to try harder on and off the field. Once players realize they can make an income while still in school, they will strive for the best outcomes. Players put their bodies on the line when they go out on that field to play their hearts out and they aren’t guaranteed money for any of that. Paying the athletes would open up their eyes and make sure that going on that field and knowing you can get hurt won’t be a problem because the compensation will cover them till they are allowed to play again. Receiving money from the revenue that is pulled from one game can allow a college athlete’s perspective to change. Allowing players to make an income will make them think twice before going pro because since they are receiving aid and compensation from college games, jersey sales, and endorsements. Players would probably not all go one and done which means freshman college athletes usually go pro right after their first year, but once they see that they are making an income from college and they see they can also get a degree this would change the perspective of a lot of people.

On the other hand, some people think it’s alright that college athletes don’t get paid. Others argue that paying them would allow them to become better players on and off the field. Some believe that playing college sports and receiving free tuition is more than enough and that they shouldn’t also receive money from their hard work, “Paying college athletes would force many schools to make tough choices and field fewer athletic teams. It would rob many students of the chance not only to compete but also to learn the life skills that participating in sports imparts: time management, resilience, discipline, and teamwork. Paying students to play is not the way to get there” (Williams). Williams elaborates on how paying students to play college sports would not be fair because there wouldn’t be a way to pay all players legally. Especially the NCAA doesn’t approve special pay to others who exceed at the game. Williams explains, “Paying students to play would turn them into employees, shifting their focus away from academics”. Even though students still would be required to meet academic requirements to qualify for academic programs, paying athletes for sports participation would shift their perspectives on their priorities. They would be required to make sure their position on the team isn’t jeopardized so they can benefit from the income, much like they are required to do so now to maintain a scholarship. Athletes would choose programs where they would gain the most money instead of choosing programs where they could benefit from most academically. On the other hand, students would likely not earn the same amount as an athlete for their work-study program. This would bring attention to many people because many would agree that pay should be the same. The NCAA makes sure if one student-athlete gets any sort of commission, every other student-athlete should get the same amount.

All in all, college athletes deserve to get paid due to all the hard work they put in yearly to be the best at their sport. Granting college athletes the ability to get paid can bring relief and allow them to make an income from their training and practice. The amount that NCAA makes from their student-athletes is absurd, paying athletes at least for the time that they put into the sport weekly would even be a start to allowing an income to be made while still in school. Some people think paying student-athletes can be one of the worst ideas out there because it can shift their perspectives into only wanting to make money while at college. Others believe college is a great place to understand how to manage your money if you do get paid. Since most student-athletes come into the program financially unstable, this can be a new beginning for them and their family because it would allow a source of income to be available. Allowing college athletes to get paid can help tremendously on and off the field. 

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