At some colleges, athletics is a crucial source of revenue, and they attract many students to their institutions. Colleges and universities depend on their athletes to generate and maintain the popularity of their school’s name. There have been many arguments over if student-athletes should not be paid because they are receiving full ride scholarships by having their tuition, room, board, and books all paid for. Many people say these people should feel that the promise of their continued education is enough for these student-athletes.
On the other side of the argument, people believe that since the college athletes are generating enough of the income for the universities that they should get a small “piece of the pie” and get paid more than just a scholarship.
Although college athletes haven’t reached the professional level, they are required to work just as hard as professional players. To many college athletes, it’s a job, and they are willing to put in the effort and make sacrifices to become the best in their sport.
The NCAA, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, enforced the law Title IX, passed in 1972 originally created to preserve the equal rights for men and women, to prevent athletes from receiving money. If college students were paid based on the amount of money their colleges received from sporting events, smaller colleges and universities would be an extreme disadvantage. Larger universities rake in more money on average and would be able to pay their athletes more, unlike smaller universities that would be forced to pay their athletes on a tight budget.
If this were to happen, almost all the high school prospects would choose the larger colleges and universities because of the bigger paycheck, and this could severely affect the smaller schools. College athletes are considered amateur players, and the NCAA wants to protect their athletes from being influenced by money like the professional players are. Many argue that athletes shouldn’t be paid because participating in college sports provides them with the vital publicity they can earn when they turn professional. While this allegation may be true for some athletes, the chances of turning pro after college are very slim because they are fighting against hundreds of other high-leveled athletes for the same limited position.
Big name college athletes like Zion Williamson, small forward for Duke University’s basketball team, and Trevor Lawrence, quarterback for Clemson University’s football team, are performing at their highest level for their colleges but are not receiving anything for their efforts. Colleges are receiving massive profits from televised games such as big Bowl games for football or March Madness for basketball, but are the college athletes really getting anything out of it? Student-athletes are receiving full-ride scholarships to play at top colleges in the U.S. such as the University of Alabama, University of Michigan, etc. by having their tuition, room, board, and books all paid for. Big brands like Nike and Under Armour are profiting extremely well when it comes to the huge televised events because they slap their logos on anything and everything the camera can pan over just to get some sort of profit off of it. Michael Wilbon, a co-host on Pardon the Interruption on ESPN states, “If the student as an athlete can find a way, he/she should be able to endorse products, to have paid-speaking gigs, to sell memorabilia.” However, the NCAA is protecting their athletes from exploration by professional and commercial enterprises by not allowing them to create brand endorsements and feature in ads or commercials. With the number of endorsements the school is receiving from Nike, Under Armour, and/or any other big name brands, the players that are wearing the gear and showing off the brands should receive some form of compensation for their work. Only a few college teams are good enough to receive an invitation to go and compete at these big televised events, and they should get paid for their performance at the events.
There’s the issue of how to divide the pay and profits up fairly, but some teams don’t bring in the same amount of revenue as others. “I’m interested in seeing the people who produce the revenue share a teeny, tiny slice of it. That’s right, football and men’s basketball players get paid, lacrosse, field hockey, softball, baseball, soccer players get nothing” (Wilbon). Giving all athletes a small equal stipend of $100 to $150 per month could help cover the expenses that are not covered by the scholarship and create a fair pay for all the athletes. Many college athletes take the full ride scholarships because if it wasn’t for the scholarship, they would not be able to get into college. Some student athletic talents are stronger and far more important to colleges than their academics and financial issues. Top colleges pride themselves on having a very high success rate when it comes to the percentage of their athletes getting drafted by professional teams and most college athletes playing at this high-level only stay at the college for two years and then declare for the draft. The colleges and universities take a leap of faith and provide the families, that are otherwise financially unable to have their kids to go to college, full scholarships because the colleges understand the student-athletes will be leaving college early. The colleges are still continuously making a massive profit over the performance from their players, but only taking out a small percentage of the profits to pay for the students to go to their school.
College players deserve to get paid some form of payment from the universities they attend or from the NCAA itself, but the lines are fuzzy about how they should divide the pay between teams and how to fairly disperse the revenue from the big televised events such as March Madness or the big Bowl games for football. The reality of compensation of athletes is a necessity not only to keep the high level of competition in college athletics but also to encourage students to graduate and receive their college degrees. College athletes are not allowed to work even if they have extra time, and if the athlete doesn’t make it to the professional leagues it creates the issue of lack of experience necessary to get a good paying job.