Should College Athletes Be Paid?

There has been a lot of debate for quite some time concerning paying college athletes. To begin, there is a ton of money being made by colleges and universities at the expense of these young athletes. These players sacrifice their time, their education, and even their bodies for the sake of their teams. So the question is, should college athletes get paid?

As a former college athlete, I can understand why many believe these athletes should be getting paid. There are a number of athletes who have little to no money while in college. Getting paid to compete would help these athletes survive the rough college lifestyle. In addition, they would have the ability to help out at home for the families that struggle to send their children off to college.

Being on a sports team is similar to a full time job: you have scheduled times for practice, meals and even curfew.

The discipline and responsibility required to play on a team are not much different from going to work on a regular basis. When you add school, papers and exams to the equation, it would be reasonable to consider compensating college athletes for their services.

Advocates of college athletes being paid focus on the tremendous amount of financial fraud and violations that occur each year in multiple programs. Players from humble beginnings get offered large amounts of money that they haven’t seen before in their lives. Some get bribed to take special gifts that can assist them and their struggling families. The temptations are great, and a number of athletes fall victim to engaging in these financial violations. Thus, the argument is, paying college athletes would reduce or even eliminate this problem.

As a former college athlete, I can empathize with the argument for college pay for students, but it logistically would not work. How much would a college student get paid? Does every member of the team get paid or just the starters? What happens to the compensation when a player gets injured? Would benefits be available? The questions go on forever, leading to that the concept of payment may very well create more issues than it solves.

I believe a compromise to the issue with payment is stipend-based compensation. Any immediate needs in terms of room and board or extenuating family circumstances should be taken care of by the university. Also, a base stipend for each competing athlete that covers essential expenses should be reimbursed by the institution on a regular basis. This would indeed reduce the need for extra income as some expenses would be taken care of.

Another solution to this issue would be to place larger fines and penalties for boosters, individuals, and universities that violate the current terms. Stricter laws should be passed that could help prevent money from traveling through loopholes into the hands of immature, gullible youth that are using sports as a gateway to a promising future, a better life.

The issue of paying college athletes will not go away until everyone involved figures out a balance between earning money, winning, and compensating athletes.

What do you think?

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One Response

  1. Let me start by stating that this article came out about a week before the Name-Image-Likeness rule became official. With that said, I think the NIL rule is a good, fair way, for college athletes, that individually draw interest and generate revenue, to be compensated. Obviously, only the big time players and names will be able to make serious money, but that’s how it should be, for this particular rule. Most fans are fans of the school, and would watch or attend a game, regardless of who is on the team. However, there are some players that generate their own interest. It’s one thing to purchase a generic jersey, of your team, but it’s a whole different ball game if you purchase a Bryce Young jersey, because you think he’s awesome. If the school can make money off of Bryce’s name, then he should be able to capitalize on that, as well.

    Now, some might say that it’s unfair that only a select few players, on each team, will see any money, from this rule. I agree and that’s life. In life, you don’t always get what you’re worth. You get what you negotiate. However, if I’m a big time player, big enough to make significant money, chances are that I’ll have a great shot at making it to the NFL. I would share the NIL money, with my teammates, or use my celebrity to negotiate deals, for them. For instance, it is rumored that Bryce Young had made $1 million, in deals, before even being named the starter. Now say he gave $10k, to each starting offensive lineman (5) and each starting WR/TE/RB (5), that would be just 10% of his personal earnings. Shoot, he could even go 2 deep, on the depth chart and still wind up with $800k and a bunch of happy teammates that would run through a brick wall, for him.

    In a billions of dollars industry, there needs to be a way to allow the labor to generate their own income. I believe that the scholarship, food and amenities that athletes get, are plenty, in exchange for their play. However, when the schools make money off of selling players’ jerseys or if a player wants to sell his autograph, let him/her get paid.

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