According to Bobby Rush, a Democratic representative from Illinois, yes it should. In an Op-ed for the debate club on U.S. News, Bobby argues that student athletes are essentially the backbone of collegiate sports. He claims that all arguments against paying college athletes “are fallacious and anachronistic.” And instead poses the question of why we aren’t paying college athletes?
And that is a fair argument from Mr. Rush; however, I still remain unconvinced. Yes, college athletes aren’t paid monetarily, but their scholarships, free tuition, free housing, and plethora of gear and perks from their Universities add up to more than enough compensation. Take for example most Resident Assistant positions on campuses. Often, students in RA positions are compensated through free housing, which can add up to thousands of dollars per year.
Also, proponents for paying student athletes have yet to answer how that would work? On average college athletics lose about 11 million dollars just to operating costs, so where would the athlete salaries be taken from. Also, once they receive a salary, student athletes would be considered employees of the university under the law. How would that impact their relationship with University as students as in addition to being employees? It’s easy to simply claim that student athletes should be paid, but it is just as important for proponents to have a clear idea of just how this would work, and the lasting impacts of such a decision.
For instance, in 1973 the NCAA replaced four year scholarships with 1 year renewable grants, instead. This makes athletes’ education reliant on their performance in games as opposed to their academic achievements. This goes completely against the original concept of scholarships which was “a grant or payment made to support a student’s education, awarded on the basis of academic or other achievement.” At the end of the day, Universities are institutions of learning, and I believe that it is important that we return to that mentality. If a student athlete drops out of their team or is not living up to their academic responsibilities,then their scholarships should be revoked. But not on the basis of injury or their profitability.