If you don’t already know, this topic has created a large debate amongst the sports world, especially in regards to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes. Today, I am going to answer the question: why should student athletes be paid?
I acknowledge that your opinion may differ from mine, and I welcome anyone who thinks or feels differently to start a discussion in the comments section below. For this article, I’ll break it down and explain both sides of the debate, and then you can formulate your own opinion!
Let’s begin with a couple of the most common arguments against paying student athletes!
Why Should Student Athletes NOT Be Paid?
A recurring theme you’ll often hear is that student athletes receive scholarships in exchange for their talents! You would think that by removing scholarships and paying athletes a fixed salary, everyone would benefit right?
Well, not exactly… the student would be forced to pay tax on the salary, and this could reduce the amount significantly. Then on top of this, they would still have to pay for their high tuition and board costs. Even a $100,000 salary could leave a student with very little leftover, after income and state taxes.
I believe that the scholarship funds should have nothing to do with a proposed salary for the athlete. As I mentioned, student athletes are receiving the scholarship because they’ve been recruited by schools that want to improve their sports teams and strengthen their reputation amongst others.
So, if the school is gaining these benefits in return for a scholarship, then that seems equal for both parties. But, now if you add in the amount of revenue that is produced DIRECTLY because of the athletes, why aren’t they allowed to receive a portion of it?
And I’m not saying that they deserve all of the revenue, but they should at least receive some of it!
COMPLEXITY OF SALARIES:
The second common argument against paying college athletes is the idea that salaries would be complex, confusing, and challenging. It creates a ton of questions that would need to be answered. For example:
- Is there a maximum salary that players should make?
- How do you determine salaries? Fixed or incentive based?
- Are both male and female athletes getting paid?
- Do all athletes earn a salary or only certain sports?
While these questions do arise, the complexity that comes with paying student athletes should not be outweighing the need to do so. The NCAA and other college athletic boards simply need to dedicate some time towards solving this issue. If they fail to do so, students will suffer!
3 Reasons Why Student Athletes Should Be Paid?
While there are many more reasons as to why they should be getting paid, here are three that I think stand out the most:
1: National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Revenue!
Did you know that the NCAA brought in roughly $1 billion of revenue during the 2016-2017 school year? Yes, you read that correctly. ONE BILLION DOLLARS! And you’re telling me that the student athletes… the ones who provide the entertainment, the reason people purchase tickets, and the “workers” of the college/university, are getting absolutely nothing in return. Not a penny of that revenue actually goes towards the athletes. And regardless of how much money the NCAA ends up making, they refuse to pay their college athletes.
Not only this, but these student athletes are also strictly prohibited from profiting off of their name or image. This means that they cannot use their OWN name, image, or likeness, to earn money for themselves. By having this rule, they are essentially claiming the rights to their students’ names and images. How is this fair?
It wasn’t until a recent vote by the NCAA Board of Directors that unanimously voted in favour of overturning the policy. However, the details of a new rule are still being worked out and are described as being extremely complex and challenging. Sorry current athletes, it might be a few years before this goes into effect!
2: It’s a Full Time Job!
If you’ve never experienced the life of a college student athlete, you might think all they have to do is play a game and practice a few times a week. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case! When they aren’t in a practice or game, the athletes are doing things like training in the weight room, watching films, and travelling across the country for games.
And it doesn’t end there… as you know, student athlete is two words for a reason, meaning student AND athlete. Just because they are on the school team, doesn’t mean that they are excused from the heavy workloads of their courses. These athletes have to maintain a certain GPA, and this becomes very difficult when most of their time is being spent training.
This is especially true when they are travelling for tournaments, like the March Madness Men’s Basketball one. These games require student athletes to miss extended periods of class (which they have paid for), and while they might be gaining exposure for their future, other companies are profiting off of tickets, concessions, and television viewers.
Do you see what I mean now? Being a student athlete is no different than a full time job, so it’s about time we start paying them accordingly.
3: Injury Risks!
This one does not require any real sports knowledge to understand. College athletes, especially the ones in contact sports like football or basketball, are extremely at risk of suffering an injury. Sometimes, significant injuries can end their professional careers before they even begin.
If you follow the NCAA, you might have heard of some names like Alabama’s star Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He recently suffered an injury in college that could affect his draft status. Another recent scare was by a basketball player out of Duke and first round pick by the New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson. Although he recovered from a serious foot injury, many thought that his career could have been over.
What I’m trying to say is that everyone can get injured… BUT when it happens before someone’s career even starts, their entire life’s work and determination to get to that point is thrown out. And the worst part, they would have made absolutely nothing in return. This is why contracts exist in professional sports, in case of injury!
Paying student athletes will at least compensate them for the efforts they made to generate revenue that they will never receive. These athletes pour their blood, sweat, and tears into their teams, and they should be rewarded for doing so!
Agree or Disagree?
I hope you now understand some of the reasons why student athletes should be paid! If you disagree, I am open to discussing it in the comment section below!
Want to hear more about my perspective on the sports world? Click here to see all sports-related articles!
Thanks for reading!