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Paying College Athletes: Pay for Play

Updated June 23, 2021
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Paying College Athletes: Pay for Play essay

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Worthy or not, everybody wants to be paid. This has sparked a fury in the college sports world, for college athletes are now calling for the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) to step up and foot the bill when it comes to being compensated for their play. With millions of dollars flowing throughout universities, and the impact athletes have on universities, many people are mixed on the idea of student athletes being compensated for their play. The problem with paying athletes for their pay is that the money is simply not available. Even if the money was attainable, the effect on others would be greater in a negative way, causing other athletes to lose the already great benefits from playing college athletics. Therefore, all these facts lead to the notion that college athletes should not be paid for their play.

College sports are an apparent cash cow to the outside world. Yet, it is nothing close to that, once a closer look is taken. Though the NCAA brings in over ten billion dollars a year, and some college athletic programs bring in over one hundred million dollars annually, the cash is simply not available. A small sample size of this is in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in which out of the 130 college athletes departments only 15 to 20 turn a profit (Berry 267). This is due to there only being three sports that turn a profit, football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball; out of the more than twenty sports that most universities carry (Berry 267).

As a result of only 15% of the sports teams at a university operating in the black, many universities have cut several sports teams at the bottom of the barrel in an attempt to decrease the debt throughout the departments (Berry 267). One of the most notable athletic departments, Maryland, had to cut seven sports teams including the men’s track team to offset millions in the deficit (“ College Athletes Shouldn’t be Paid”). Frankly, the capital is not available to pay the players. Even if the NCAA individually paid every 490,000 student athlete with the annual one billion dollars it netted; it would still only be 2,000 dollars per athlete before other necessary expenses (“NCAA Facts”).

Paying college athletes would not just affect the athletes, but it would negatively change the landscape of many lives permanently. However, it would still affect the athletes too. Due to Title IX, a law to prevent discrimination against the sexes in the educational system, many lower tier male sports would be cut by athletic departments to create an equal number of female athletes to pay due to the high concentration of male athletes in the predominantly money making sports (Dosh).

Some universities, if athletes were to be paid, have thought of completely shutting down athletic programs without even the thought of balancing the department for Title IX to avoid uproar from sports that were cut and to appease the students who pay for most athletics with hidden fees in their tuitions (Peale). This is noted in the fact that over 130 colleges and universities fund over 50% of athletics with tuition fees from regular students, and the reason many athletic departments have already shutdown due to massive cost and problems with paying college athletes for their play (Berry 268).

Other universities, to offset the expenses of athletics, have looked to other sectors in the school to cover the damages to the budget athletics has created by cutting jobs and other educational programs that are not a necessity. An example of this is at the University of Miami(OH) where to make room for athletic spending; jobs have been cut throughout the university (Peale). This is a further illustration of why compensating college athletes would negatively affect more than positively affect the lives of the average athlete and student across the campus.

The benefits of playing college athletics outweighs what compensation could bring to the table. The most notable benefit of playing college athletics is the access to a full or parts of a scholarship that allow for athletes to receive a free education. Once the player is out of school, The access to a free education allows for an unlimited amount of opportunities to set the foundation for their career on a path that once seemed unreasonable.

Even if student athletes leave school early to pursue their athletic dreams, many institutions have begun to construct programs to help bring back former athletes and help them finish their degree. One of the major universities with this opportunity is Georgia Tech (Dosh, “Programs for Athletes”). Georgia Tech admits any athlete into the program if interested into their in-house program; and provides them with tuition assistance, book allowance, and accommodation to their living arrangements. Included in the in-house program, are athletes due to injury or other reasons; can no longer play their sport.

With help, Georgia Tech has allowed for these athletes to work within the athletic department to finish their degree (Dosh, “Programs for Athletes”). Another great benefit already available for student athletes is the cost of attendance stipend which can range from 2,000 to 6,000 dollars. Approved by the NCAA in 2015, the stipend allows for schools to pay athletes according to the cost of attendance to the school (Fowler).

The price tag on the stipend is all determined by the financial aid office on whether athletes should receive between 2,000 and 6,000 dollars. At BYU athletes receive a stipend of 4,500 dollars to do with whatever they want. Many athletes use the stipend for numerous things, such as helping their families or fixing their car; whatever it may be the stipend is already a source of payment (Fowler). Though there are many other benefits to playing college sports, these benefits illustrated are just a few of the unrecognized benefits many people have no idea about that truly make college athletics priceless for a student athlete.

No matter the opportunities given, people want to be paid and in college athletics this is as true as it gets, nevertheless; compensating athletes is comprehensively unreasonable due to the vast amount of athletes in the NCAA and the limited money available. Even if athletes were paid the effect on others, including the athletes, would in turn be more negative than positive. Even without pay, athletes already receive great benefits from college athletics that will greatly transform and set them up for the rest of their lives. College is about being a kid and having fun without the worries of the adult life, and paying athletes would destroy that notion of kids playing ball into a lifeless sport allowing for few opportunities for a few amount of people.

Works Cited

  1. Berry III, William W. “Employee-Athletes, Antitrust, and the Future of College Sports.” Stanford Law & Policy Review, vol. 28, no. 2, June 2017, pp. 245–272. EBSCOhost, proxygsu-mac2.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=123947079&site=eds-live&scope=site.
  2. Dosh, Kristi. “How Title IX Relates to Paying Players -.” Businessofcollegesports.com, 5 June 2014, businessofcollegesports.com/2011/06/09/how-title-ix-relates-to-paying-players/.
  3. Dosh, Kristi. “Programs Offer Alternative Path for Athletes to Finish Degrees.” What’s Trending with Concessions?, 18 Aug. 2014, www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2014/08/18/Opinion/From-the-Field-of-College-Sports.aspx.
  4. Fowler, Gavin. “Stipends a New Factor in NCAA Sports.” The Daily Universe, 1 June 2016, universe.byu.edu/2016/06/01/stipends-helping-student-athletes-make-ends-meet/.
  5. NCAA RECRUITING FACTS. www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/Recruiting Fact Sheet WEB.pdf.
  6. Peale, Cliff. “Athletics Cost Colleges, Students Millions.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 15 Sept. 2013, www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/15/athletics-cost-colleges-students-millions/2814455/.
  7. PR Newswire. “Economically Speaking, College Athletes Should Not Be Paid.” PR Newswire US, 23 July 2012. EBSCOhost, proxygsu-mac2.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bwh&AN=201207231503PR.NEWS.USPR.CG44665&site=eds-live&scope=site.
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