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Pay to Play: Why College Athletes Should Be Paid

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In our society today many people believe that student athletes have it easier than the average everyday student. They have these ideals about student athletes because they think that every athlete is on scholarship and has their schooling paid for as well as their housing and meals. However, many college athletes struggle to get a hot meal in their stomachs, having clean clothes, and having everyday necessities to live because their scholarship only pays for certain things. In this case, college athletes should be paid because many go through hard times and hardships in their life as a student athlete while they are at college. To sum it up college athletes should get paid because of what they bring to their schools and what these people have on the line while they play sports while also trying to be model students.

When the word student athlete comes to mind what do you think of? Many people think of sports they love to watch or could less for and how these athletes have scholarships to play these sports. The organization that most of these student athletes play for is called the National Collegiate Athletic Association or more commonly known as the NCAA. The NCAA is “a member-led organization dedicated to the well-being and lifelong success of college athletes.”(NCAA) The NCAA is one of the biggest college organizations for every single sport with big programs from football, basketball, baseball, and etc. What many people do not know is that the NCAA is an organization that makes billions of dollars off of these student athletes that play these sports and never see a dime. Overall because the NCAA makes so much money off these students the argument of the student-athletes getting paid was made.

Many people do not believe that student-athletes should be getting paid for playing a sport because they are already “get paid” to go to school. To explain why people believe that a scholarship is good enough for athletes to live off while they are at the schools, and not get any type of check for entertaining thousands to millions of people every week. According to the source, In Matter of Fact, it states “Maybe 40 – 50 years ago it was ok but now it is a whole new generation where many broadcasting networks have a bunch of TV deals and endorsement deals”. To not give these student athletes any type of paycheck or payment off these endorsement deals that the NCAA is making off them playing the sport is flat out wrong. Therefore, when these people and organizations are getting endorsement and tv deals why not pay the student athlete when the NCAA is making millions of dollars off these students names and performances?

While there are those who believe that student athletes should get paid, there are those who disagree and believe that they should not receive any pay at all. One of the many things people argue is that schools should not be able to pay the student athletes at all, but the sponsorships that the schools have acquired should be able to provide the athletes with a paycheck. As explained in the article Student athletes should not get paid while some students still have loans for school to pay, written by Nicole Smith she states, “With the debate of paying college athletes, I find the answer to be simple: let the school do their part in paying for a full ride that can be worth up to $176,000”. The author here is trying to that athletes do not deserve to receive extra money besides from the scholarships that they were given from the school while they are normal people who have to struggle with paying for school by themselves. Then the author brings up a point of why sponsorships should be paying student athletes. Smith then states “allow companies such as Nike and Adidas to pay individual athletes whatever they want for an athlete to wear their brand of shoes during a game. As far as I am concerned, this is as much of a business deal any college athlete should be receiving at this stage of their career.” This statement is saying that since big name companies are getting promotions from these players wearing their gear, then the players should be paid in return. Overall, like many, Smith believes that these athletes should get paid, but not by the schools they should be getting paid by the companies that make money off their name and likeness.

There are many reasons as to why the student athlete should be getting paid and there are a vast majority of ways people think colleges or companies should be paying them. One of the more important reasons why a student athlete should be getting paid is that the sport they are playing is like a full-time job as it requires you to put in a lot of time and commitment if you want to be successful. In the source called Should College Student-Athletes Be Paid? Both Sides of the Debate, written by Madisen Martinez she states, “Being a college student-athlete is a full-time job, bouncing between the weight room, the court/field, classes, and film sessions. College athletics are extracurricular activities, but the schedules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) tournaments require an extended period in which the student-athletes must miss school”. This quote is referring that athletes have a load far greater than the average student as they have to juggle the hectic schedule of being a football player and a full time student. Later in the article it brings back the topic of how much money the NCAA makes off the athletes as it states, “Not only do they miss class, but they are absent for nationally televised games that make a lot of money and receive millions of viewers”. When the NCAA makes so much money off the athletes why can they not give them a single dime. After all the student athletes are basically working full time jobs while also being full time students.

Another topic of why student athletes should not be paid is because they are not playing the sport at its highest level. The main purpose of getting a scholarship is to be able to get an education some people otherwise would not be able to afford not to be paying them to play a sport which they are not playing professionally. In the source called Should College Student-Athletes Be Paid? Both Sides of the Debate, written by Madisen Martinez she states in the article,”…even though these college student-athletes may be playing at an advanced level, they still aren’t playing professionally, Anderson notes. It is not their job to play sports; it is an extracurricular activity that is pursued while pursuing a higher education. Student-athletes are going to school to learn, and many are lucky enough to do so for reduced cost, given the often generous athletic scholarships. If these athletes were paid, it would change their motives as students. They are still in college — which is a privilege in itself — while pursuing their dreams of playing a sport”. To explain the quote itself it is one of those things that where the opportunity to just be able to attend the school for basically should just be enough, but it does not take into account the athlete’s personal life and the struggles that can come with it. Overall Martinez does give some good viewpoints on why the student athlete should not be paid, but looking from my perspective the reason most athletes attend college is to continue playing the sport they love and not go to school for free it just happens to be a bonus.

The NCAA should at least start paying athletes that are either from big programs or that are well known with sports like football and basketball as they bring in the most money. One example of this would be in the case of Ohio State’s Chase Young and potential first overall draft pick in this upcoming NFL draft. He is one of the biggest names coming out of college football at the moment and, Nike and NCAA has made substantial amount of money off selling his jersey and using his likeness. In fact Young was suspended for breaking NCAA rules by borrowing money from a family friend so he could have his family flown out to one of the most important games of his career. He did in fact pay this money back in full but the NCAA didn’t see it that way and decided re received an unfair advantage because of who he is but they don’t see a problem of using him to make them any money. Well this is because of the many things that these programs have done to make an enormous amount of cash flow for coaches and the programs. In the source Pay to Play: Should College Athletes Be Paid? written by Krikor Meshefejian he states many things that these college programs do one of the few things he states is “The reality is that college sports programs, namely the ‘big name’ programs such as football and basketball programs at marquee schools, are businesses that stand to make a large amount of money for their respective schools.” (Meshefejian 5). In other words the author is trying to say that if these programs can make so much money off these kids why can’t they give them the money that they earn every week. Like the example of Young these student athletes are seeing none of the money they are making but they NCAA doesn’t understand that some of these kids don’t have it like that.

This past year Californian has decided to put forward a new bill that would college athletes to make money off their likeness and names by being able to sign endorsement deals and even hire an agent. They are fighting the NCAA’s philosophy that athletes should a degree and not a check. More and more states are slowing following in California’s footsteps and this is long overdue as the NCAA generated a whopping $14 billion in revenue this year alone. This has brought up major concerns for the NCAA as they fear college sports will turn into more of a business rather than students trying to earn a degree. They have also tried to apply a measure against this bill saying that they will deem the schools ineligible as they fear it will become unfair as more athletes would go to those said schools in California to have the ability to make money that could really help them. Officials are fighting for this right for the students because they know the NCAA will not do right by them as they are basically handicapping every athlete that goes through their system.

The term of being a student-athlete carries a burden on many athletes. This is because of the many things that they have on their plates while trying to be successful in the classroom and on the field. The path that life has taken by in going through the JUCO system and being a student athlete while also being a full time student and working has been a challenge as I do not have a lot of time to spare but has taught me how to manage what and when I do things. My personal goal is to be able to attend a division one and play football while not having the burden of worrying how I’ll pay for college as my hardwork and dedication has given me that opportunity. As I have learned more about this topic, I believe that it is only right that either these companies or schools should be paying these athletes as they are taking advantage of their names and likeness.

To conclude, student athletes have so much value and potential of succeeding in anything they do in their life. It can be playing a sport they love and want to reach that next level or it could be an education they have worked for their entire life to be successful. Even when these athletes are working on a different level than the average student they should be getting paid for all the efforts and money they bring to their schools. The NCAA is a multi-billion dollar organization so why do they think that athletes do not deserve a single dime of anything that they are earing them? Overall, the student-athlete should get paid because of all the hard work and time they have to put in compared to the average everyday student and how much money they bring in for their university and the NCAA.

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Pay To Play: Why College Athletes Should Be Paid. (2020, October 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 12, 2021, from
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