College athlete pay

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For the past decade, there has been an intriguing debate in college athletics about whether or not student-athletes can be paid. The side to take in such a situation is determined by one’s perception. Many people, including those who have never participated in athletics, support the NCAA’s position of not paying athletes, arguing that it is part of education and thus there is no reason to pay the participants. However, from the perspective of a competitor, it is preferable for athletes to be paid or credited. As a result, the aim of this paper is to include explanations for why athletes should be compensated. To some considerable degree, it should be acknowledged that college athletes work extra hard compared to regular students. According to NCAA survey as at 2011, football players from Division I had an averaged of forty-three hours of training each week. Baseball players, on the other hand, had forty-two hours of training, while men’s basketball players came third with an average of thirty-nine hours of training each week. These statistics indicate that apart from classwork and homework, athletes, just like any other sports participants, have an extra duty to perform. Thus, this kind of workload should not go unappreciated since right from their schedule; one can see that they are really busy and they deserve some form of compensation (Zimbalist, 2014).

Even though most of the college athletes have scholarships, which cater for their accommodation, tuition, and stipends, it should be known that most of the scholarships do not satisfy everything in one’s life. There are some extra expenses one usually incurs as an athlete. As a result, the stipend does not meet all the budget for the whole year. If only college athletes could be paid or compensated, they could be having enough money to spend on dates, purchase clothes, or even buy food. On this basis, it is recommendable for athletes to be paid or compensated (Kenyon, 2013).

Ideally, if athletes were paid or compensated, sports would be more competitive since the participants would be motivated. On the other hand, NCAA holds the opinion that paying athletes would not encourage competition in sports, claiming that it would not make sense for each player to be paid their worth since each player would not see the need to work extra hard to maintain his or her position. One would probably not support this argument on the basis that some college students are forced by circumstance to work part-time to get extra income. The time and energy they spend on such jobs would be used to improve their sports skills if they were paid at all (“Competitive nature of NCAA rules keeps student-athletes from being paid,” 2015).

A regular salary would make the athletes learn to be good money managers; after all, financial management is a skill every young man would be pleased to possess. This skill will be not only helpful in college but also in real life situations since poor management skills may lead to low retention rates, which can cause financial stress. Of course, NCAA is a multi-billion-dollar industry that makes approximately $11 billion from college sports, and there will be nothing wrong if NCAA would channeling the same revenue to athletes instead of it benefiting the top executives, athletic directors, and coaches who get millions of dollars in hefty paychecks. It would be fair if the athletes would be paid, since they are the engine of this industry (“Competitive nature of NCAA rules keeps student-athletes from being paid,” 2015).

Paying the athletes would keep them longer in school and pursue their education so that they may have an alternative in case they don’t make with sports. In fact, most athletes cite their low-income situation as the main reason why they do not complete their education. Nonetheless, paying athletes out of athletic department’s budgets is impractical, because many athletic departments operate at a deficit and it’s hard to do a follow-up in case the athlete is not paid. However, for athletes who play for revenue-generating teams like the University of Tennessee, the situation is different since they are often compensated from the lucrative radio, television, and Internet rights fees (Kenyon, 2013).

Some critics point out those paying amateur students-athletes would make them professional athletes. This statement is vague and quite misleading since amateur athlete is just but a terminology and an opinion of an individual should not brand the entire industry with misleading titles. For instance, hockey players are sometimes considered as part of AHL (Amateur Hockey League) but are still compensated. In fact, defining student-athletes as amateurs may create another problem that relates to their lack of payment; this statement is in correspondence with NCAA law that asserts that student-athletes will always be amateurs and they need to be protected from exploitation by professionals as well as commercial enterprises. From this mischievous statement, it is clear that student-athletes have only been set aside to be exploited only by NCAA and not any other enterprise (Kenyon, 2013). Owing to the fact that tuition fees for colleges have always been increasing, NCAA approved that student-athletes should be eligible for jobs that pay them up to $2,000 in the course of their schooling annually. One would not recommend that students should engage in part-time jobs and participate in sports at the same time. They will work under very tight schedules that it would be hard for them to perform both academically and in sport. Therefore, paying the athletes would relieve them from extra activities and concentrate on what they can do best (Zimbalist, 2014).


In a nutshell, college athletes should be paid or compensated because the payment would assist them in meeting their schooling expenses thus completing school with ease. To some considerable degree, paying athletes would reduce the drop-out rates of student-athletes who do drop out of school to participate in professional leagues. Learning institutions seems to be theoretical in their moves when it does not compensate or pay student-athletes; in fact, it looks like it’s supporting the athletes to drop out of school for other interests. It would be quite simple for learning organizations or institutions to compensate their athletes for three years, and promote them to be senior athletes. Even though NCAA could not see this as being odd and unjustified, the reality is that student-athletes would benefit much from the compensation that they would motivated finish their degree courses with ease. In reality, many student-athletes are being paid under the table via unjust means, which is not only illegal but also unfair for another student-athletes who abide by the NCAA regulations. In my opinion, the learning institutions are exploiting students and not compensating them, while they are earning much revenue alongside building their institutions’ reputations.


Competitive nature of NCAA rules keeps student-athletes from being paid. (2015). College Athletics and the Law, 12(8), 10-11. doi:10.1002/catl.30146

Kenyon, P. B. (2013). Why Should Students Be Paid to Learn? College Teaching, 38(3), 103-105. doi:10.1080/87567555.1990.10532206

Zimbalist, A. S. (2014). The bottom line: Observations and arguments on the sports business. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

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