Athletes Bring in the Big money for College Sports? Should that Mean Anything to the Rest of the College Community?


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.



Privilege or Extortion? NFL Player Thinks Worse…

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 2.11.49 PM.pngCurrent Seahawks NFL player Michael Bennett has a bit of a different opinion when it comes to college athletes being paid or not. While he is one of the most opinionated starts of the league, he points out in an ESPN interview “Hell yeah college players should get paid. [The] NCAA gets paid. [The] Rose Bowl gets paid. Everybody gets paid except the people making the product. In some countries, they call that slavery.” He points out that the NCAA and Universities are making more than enough money and the scholarships are only a fraction of what is brought in as revenue from the NCAA players. While it is a great opportunity to play a sport that the athletes love, they are also risking their bodies on a line every time they step out onto the field. Football may be the most popular of all the sports, it is not the only one. There are 23 sports among the NCAA across three divisions and while they do receive housing, food, clothes, and tuition, The university in return receives profit, recognition, and sponsors. The better a team does, the more a university gets in return. But what happens if a athlete fails at the sport and he is injured for the remainder of their life? There is no injury insurance that professional athletes get, making the point that it is a very serious concern.

While the scholarships provide many opportunities to the athlete, it also severely limits them from making money on the side. An athlete under scholarship cannot receive any money from sponsors or deals. Anything that would break that rule would can void the scholarship that was earned by the athlete. Since the athlete is training and going to school full-time, it leaves no time for the person to work outside, no work can mean no money for that person. What are they supposed to do if they have no money and the athlete’s family cannot send him money? Take a loan out? An unfair solution it seems…

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The Freebies, Opportunities and Experiences are Enough

Student athletes receive free tuition, housing, food, clothing, books, tutoring, advising, professional development, medical care, coaching, heck, even free road trips with some of their closest friends and these athletes want payment on top of all that?

Student athletes are already exposed to experiences and opportunities which other students can’t access. They are given four (or five) years to progress through their chosen degree whilst practicing up to 20 hours a week, and maintaining a 2.0 GPA. The amateur athletic club scene in America is not as developed as it is in European countries, so unless these athletes are signed to professional clubs after graduating high school they are left with very little alternative to college athletics if they want to progress athletically or academically. The NCAA gives athletes the opportunity to progress through a system which after the four years can lead to professional contracts and a professional athletic career, and if it doesn’t work out that way, at least they have a degree to fall back on.


Playing college sport is a privilege. 7.6% of high school athletes become college athletes and only 1.9% of these go on to compete at a Division I college, there is an even slighter chance of theses athletes going pro, with only 1 in 1,860 male college basketball athletes making it. Playing sport in college is a dream of many budding high school athletes but in reality, only a very small portion of them succeed it. Often, just the opportunity to play in front of thousands of people, against some of the respective best athletes in the country or even world, and to travel to different areas of the country is alone, enough payment for athletes.

If payment plans were to be an option, student athletes should have to choose between either a full ride encompassing all of the other benefits, or payment, not both. That would escalate prices of athletes to hundreds of thousands of dollars rather than the tens of thousands which they cost now.

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