Should college athletes be paid? Primary source analysis


This paper examines two primary sources which give information on the arguments of whether or not college athletes should be paid. It analyzes how paying the athletes will not ruin the gameplay or the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as a whole. Another source goes into detail and explains how the NCAA claims they do not pay athletes because they want to save them from “excessive commercialism” This paper is meant to analyze all of the arguments and relate to the topic, if college athletes should receive a salary.

The Arguments of Paying College Athletes

The NCAA argues that if college athletes get paid then that would ruin the amateurism. However people believed that paying Olympic participants and Baseball players would damage sports, instead it made them more favorable to the audience. The NCAA also claims they are saving their players from “excessive commercialism”. Joe Nocera believes this is false and that they (NCAA) are only trying to “protect everyone else’s revenue stream”.

Nocera also considers paying Division I players a $2,000 stipend is a reasonable agreement. However, Mark Emmert, President of the NCAA, states that paying players would “convert our student athletes to employees of the university.” Later he says granting players a salary would make them “subcontractors” This paper explores multiple author’s viewpoints on the argument of paying college students.

Literature Review

In Nocera’s article (2012), he states how the NCAA believes that adding players to the payroll will remove the integrity of the league, take away the amateurism, and “destroy” the gameplay.

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The NCAA believes the morals of the league will disband when players begin getting paid. This is because the NCAA is known to help take players to the professional level. This means the NCAA does not want to be considered a professional league, they would rather remain an amateur league (Nocera). If the NCAA distributes an equal amount of money to each team, then it will not destroy the sport. They (NCAA) are worried that one team will pay for the best players and create an unfair environment.

Mark Emmert, President of the NCAA, denied the idea of paying players a $2,000 stipend. He explains how paying the players will transform the players from student-athletes to “subcontractors”, and arguing that it will “remove the amateurism”(Nocera), however the athletes need this. They spend over 50 hours a week practicing or playing their sport. With this much time taken, they will have less time to work and may not be able to afford necessities. Nocera states how top NCAA coaches make the same amount of money as coaches in the NBA, around six million dollars. He also states how the NCAA is a nonprofit organization which means they spend all of their money every year. They use their excess money to improve facilities, even if the innovations are not necessary. If the NCAA was not a nonprofit organization and did not pay their coaches as much for an amateur sport, they could pay their athletes while keeping it affordable.


In 2012 Nocera addresses the NCAA’s false claims and excuses for not granting the athletes a salary. He also addresses how the NCAA distributes their money and argues how it can go to athletes and be affordable. Limitations of These Studies A major limitation in the sources is that they state only Division I Men’s Basketball and Football players will receive a salary. The reasoning behind this is because both sports generate the most money.

Conclusions and Future Study

In order to have a better understanding on whether or not the NCAA can afford to pay athletes. It would be necessary to count how many athletes there are participating in each division, then see how much revenue the NCAA makes. After this, they should pay each player an equal amount respectively to which division they are in. Next the NCAA should provide a temporary salary to student athletes to see if it will alter the gameplay. This will test if the NCAA is correct when they say that paying players will “damage” the sport.

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Should college athletes be paid? Primary source analysis. (2021, Dec 27). Retrieved from

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