College athletes are without a doubt one of the hardest working groups of people in the world. They have to deal with both the pressures and workload that comes with being a college student and the strenuous schedule of a professional athlete, all while going through the works of still being a young adult and figuring out this newly found independence. Although college athletes put in all this time and effort into both schoolwork and athletics, they are not seeing a single penny from what the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) makes off of their involvement in those sports. Universities, coaches, and sports companies have and are continuing to get rich off of the hard work and time these athletes put into what they do. College athletics is a billion-dollar industry that has continued to generate more and more money throughout the years because of its grand popularity and paying college athletes has been a trending topic and debate that has surrounded the NCAA for decades.
When college athletes commit to a team, they sign away a contract from the NCAA saying that their eligibility will be revoked if they are paid to play, sign a contract with an agent, receive a salary, incentive payment, award, gratuity educational expenses or allowances; or play on a professional team. In summary, that means that college athletes are not allowed to be paid because of this contract that has been put in place. According to research done at the University of North Carolina, when athletes receive an athletic scholarship they receive ‘Four years of tuition, fees, room, and board that total $80,208 for in-state students and $180,536 for those from outside North Carolina. Add the benefit of a diploma from a top institution with an influential and passionate alumni network’ (Washington). While it seems like college athletes are living the life and should just be grateful for being given an opportunity so valuable, the debate does not end here. College athletics are considered extracurriculars but the schedule of the NCAA makes it so that students must miss class and be absent for games that are to be nationally televised and bring revenue into their universities. People supporting college athletes in this debate believe that athletes should get paid because they work so hard by ‘bouncing between the weight room, the court/field, classes, and film sessions’ while also bringing in so much money and press that just go straight to their schools and coaches. (Martinez) Although Coaches do affect the team, they are already getting paid by universities and it is up to the athletes to go out and put on an outstanding performance. People supporting this side of the debate also believe that athletes should receive a reasonable amount of money relative to how much their program makes because they are part of their school’s advertising team. Universities use players’ success to attract new students and most importantly new players. These universities can flaunt the achievements of past players to persuade potential athletes to commit to their school by giving them hopes that they can accomplish great things as well and go on to pursue a professional career.
In 2013 John Dennis did a survey that resulted in 69% of the public believing that college athletes should not be paid. People supporting this side of the debate think that having athletes getting paid would change the nature of college athletics and turn it into a business (Martinez). Realistically, if athletes were to get paid without an athletic scholarship they would have to pay taxes on the money they receive because it is a form of income. Depending on the student athlete’s income, those taxes could be high enough to reduce what they earn until they can barely cover tuition (Martinez). It is also believed that money being received has the possibility of being spent on various wants rather than necessities needed to survive in college. It is also said that if payments became involved in college athletics, potential players would be making decisions based on whichever school would be paying them the most money. Players wouldn’t be committing because of genuine interest in the school, they would only be interested in that large sum of money that a college is offering to them. Even in future years, players could transfer to better schools offering them larger amounts of money, taking away the factor of playing because it is something you love and want to professionally pursue. Students’ would lack intrinsic motivation and only look forward to the check that is coming in.
The best solution to this ongoing debate would be to pay college athletes. The NCAA and sports companies like Nike and Adidas have been taking advantage of athletes for decades, making money off of their names, and appearances while they don’t see a single cent. College athletes devote their lives to their sport, their lives consisting of a constant cycle of school, practice/the weight-room, and film leaving them little to no time to have a job or live a normal life. Taking into consideration that college athletes are students before they are athletes there should be criteria for an athlete’s academic standing for them to receive any form of payment to ensure that they are withholding the expectations and privileges that come with being a college athlete.
College sports is a billion-dollar industry that attracts fans from all over the globe. For decades the NCAA, Universities, and coaches have been profiting off their participating players without allowing them to see a single cent of the profit that is being made. College athletes devote their entire lives to the sports they play and don’t have much free time to lead the lives of normal college students, nor do they have the opportunity and free time that students have to work. The time commitments, physical risks, and revenues that student-athletes play can be found comparable to those found on a professional level which is why some people believe that they should be receiving payment. Others oppose this idea because they believed that it will turn the college sports industry into a business and will take genuine intrinsic motivation away from players, instead they will just be playing for money. Overall, paying student-athletes would be a clear cut solution to this debate because they have no time to have jobs or to even lead normal lives because of the large time commitment it takes to be a successful student-athlete. Profiting money will teach student-athletes money management skills as well as prepare them for adulthood. With that being said, there should be criteria met so that athletes are only paid if they are in good academic standing so that the fact that they are also students is not blocked off. Paying student-athletes would change their lives for the better and would give them the money that they rightfully deserve and all the reasons why college athletes should be paid are really important.