Should College Athletes be Paid?

NCAA Money

Athletes today are overworked, enervated, and broke. They are at the height of their career performing in front of hundreds of thousands of fans, but what are most of them getting out of it? Few players go on to make money from competing professionally in their sport and 62% athletes don’t pursue a career in their major. This is because they are often clustered into majors that won’t help them succeed in life, rather the major makes it easier for them to focus on their respective sport. Student athletes should be paid because of the demanding nature of playing a sport, the large amount of profit athletes produce for their university, and the sheer difficulty of balancing education and social life with their sport.


A college sport is comparable to having a job because of its demanding nature and risk. College athletes put in 40 hours of work each week, just as the average American citizen does on a typical workweek. Take football for example, in August practices last from 8:30am to 10:30 pm. As August ends, the season rolls into its regular schedule which consists of 40-50 hours a week. Along with that there is the average 37 hour travel time per week. In addition, the risk for the athlete is much higher than someone with a job. What many people do not know is that any athlete can lose a scholarship if they get injured. Unlike a normal job, there is no workmans compensation. Since 2004 there have been over 12,500 injured college athletes per year, many of which have resulted in loss of scholarship.  Also, many people say that athletes are getting paid with their free education, but there are only 22 colleges in the entire nation that give out multi-year scholarships.  On top of that, half of revenue-producing athletes do not even graduate. So a scholarship may look enticing when an athlete receives it, but that scholarship can be taken from the athlete just as fast as it came. A fair day of work deserves pay especially because of the risk of injury and possibility of not graduating, or loss of scholarship.


Student athletes should profit from their own play and accomplishments. Thanks to the lucrative television deals, the NCAA(National Collegiate Athletic Association) is profiting $1 billion annually.  Football is the top grossing college sport. There are 20 Division one schools that produce over $100 million dollars per year just from football alone.The football players do not acquire any of that money, even though they are the ones whose actions produce all of it. The athletes are the reason for making all the money, so they should receive a steady monthly wage along with a certain amount of money for each game they play in.


In addition to  their sport, students also need to balance a social life and their education. The social side of college sports sometimes goes unnoticed. Most these athletes are between the age of 18-25 and with their school work and sport, there is no time for them to socialize. Most people would agree that college is a place to have fun, but student athletes are overwhelmed by the university. There is no time for athletes to make money because all of their time is consumed by practice, classes, and sleep. Also, there is a large amount of players that attend prestigious schools that they do not belong in academically. For example, The University of North Carolina and Syracuse were offering “No Show” classes that their athletes could take where they received and automatic 100% to boost their grade and stay eligible. These students are asked to balance playing their sport along school work that is difficult for them and often this does not work well.The attempt to balance everything often leads to lacking in the classroom or on the field which can be a problem for the player and even the university. The players are making a huge commitment trying to balance their education and social life with their sport and many players believe it is going unrecognized because they aren’t getting paid.


On the other hand, many people believe that student athletes should not be paid because the cost is too expensive for the college to handle, and the athletes are considered amateurs. The average college loses $11 million per year in total expenses and adding the cost of pay to their athletes would increase that loss. Also, if colleges started paying their athletes, then the college’s money and economics would begin to revolve around sports instead of education. To add to that, athletes are not paid because by NCAA rule they are officially amateurs. An amatuer, by definition, is someone who loves the game and plays for fun so for that reason they do not deserve pay.


Some may argue that paying athletes would make the college’s economics revolve around athletics instead of education, but that is already the case at most universities. 37% of college’s total net worth is in athletics. Only 18% lies in education. There is no official statement that NCAA athletes are amateurs they are only considered that by the public. If schools invest more money into their athletes and athletic programs they will in turn profit more and benefit the athletes.


In short, college athletes are due for pay. The countless hours of practice along with social and educational pressure are becoming too much to handle without compensation. The need for pay is now.