College athletes are hardworking people in the country. College athletes have to work through tedious workouts and practices to be able to compete in every game throughout the year. The Supreme Court ruled that college athletes should only be offered education-related payments, not monetary ones. Therefore, college athletes are compensated with scholarships. College sports make billions of dollars for colleges, networks, and corporate sponsors, enabling everyone to cash in on college athletics except the players. This debate has drawn polarizing responses from the public, with the majority supporting that college athletes should be paid. Observing college sports culture, one might wonder why they do not pay the players just like professional players. Clearly, college athletes should be paid because they bring in money, they have no time for jobs, and paying them means more incentives for student-athletes.
College sports generate billions of dollars for colleges, networks, and corporate sponsors. Zema explains that everyone makes money off college athletics except the players (198). For instance, when the University of Michigan was playing the Ohio State University, there were over 110,000 spectators who had paid an average ticket price of $141 (198). Michigan had a $174 million deal with Michigan and a $252 million agreement with Ohio (Zema 198). The coaches were paid millions of dollars, while the players’ only earned cheers. Some college sports, like football, are a big deal and are played nationwide by most colleges, attracting a lot of spectators, apparel, network contracts, and wealthy coaches. Zema asserts that college sports are a big deal and a big business. Zema explained that in 2019, college athletic programs harvested $14 billion, up from $4 billion in 2003, excluding broadcasting rights and corporate sponsorships (199). Over 100 divisions earned over $1 million annually, with the top 25 football coaches taking home an average of $5.2 million and basketball coaches earning $3.2 million. In over 41 states, research shows that the most paid public staff is a basketball and football coach (Zema 200). College sports generate billions of money, and everyone profits except the players. If the players can generate all this money, they deserve to get a piece of the action by getting paid.
College athletes do not have time for jobs since they are busy working out and practising. Participating in college athletics equals having a full-time job. In an article by College Rank, a nationwide survey showed that Division I athletes dedicate over 35 hours per week to sports during the sports season (par 5). This is like working, considering the effort and time they put into sports. According to Fisher, a typical working job pays $7.25 per hour; hence for 35 hours a week, a student would earn over $1000 per month (2). They spend much time on sports; hence they lack time to work and study. How are students supposed to earn good grades and position themselves for the competitive job market? The players also need some spending money. How can they care for themselves if they lack time to work part-time? Students only enjoy a full-ride scholarship which does not come with pocket money. College athletes should be given a small monthly stipend to cover their basic expenses. It is ridiculous to expect players to generate billions for colleges in the name of education and love of the game, yet they linger in debt. Receiving financial compensation is the only to make this compromise and sacrifices easier.
Paying college athletes will create a more competitive market for college sports. According to Knoester and David, college sports are already competitive but adding payment will make them work harder (399). College athletes have been generating money with only scholarships; what if incentives are added to them? Knoester and David explain that paying college athletes a share of money from what they contribute to college sports programs will motivate them to generate even more (400). Paying them incentives will propel them to work even harder and do better. They will put more effort since their “job” will be on the line if they do not deliver. According to Fisher, allowing students to use their names, images, and likeness was a step towards the right direction (3). Research shows that most athletes are from poor backgrounds, and the majority do not stand a chance at being professional athletes; hence, this is the only time they can be compensated for their efforts. College athletes take huge physical and academic risks, and in some cases, they put their future at risk. Some college athletes are a risk of getting long-term health effects like chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Others get serious injuries which impact their future and jeopardize their opportunities to play professionally and probably earn millions later. Others risk having long-term disabilities. College athletes deserve some incentives for all the efforts and risks they take. All parties involved should come together and plan on how to compensate athletes where only a small monthly stipend will be provided and no pay raises or incentives will be added. Giving college athletes incentives is a good way of appreciating their efforts.
In conclusion, college athletes should be paid. College athletes have to work through tedious workouts and practices to be able to compete in every game throughout the year making them one of the most hardworking group in the nation. Even though, college athletes are compensated with scholarships. College sports are making billions of dollars for colleges, networks, and corporate sponsors. Everyone is cashing in on college athletics except the players. College sports are generating billions of money and everyone is profiting except the players. If the players are capable of generating all this money then they deserve to get a piece of the action by getting paid. They should also be paid because athletes do not have time for jobs since they are busy working out and practicing. Participating in college athletics equals to having a full-time job. College athlete should be given a small monthly stipend to cover their basic expenses. Hence, receiving financial compensation is the only to make this compromise and sacrifices easier. Paying college athletes incentives will create a more competitive market for college sports. College athletes are prone to injuries that can cause lifelong disabilities. They are at a constant risk of injury hence they deserve proper compensation. When an athlete has been seriously injured, they can lose their scholarships and jeopardize their future. All the above stated reasons reinstate and show why college athletes should be paid.
Fisher, Bess. “” Swipe up?”: Reality Stars-Turned-Influencers vs. College Athletes and the Road Ahead with Name, Image, and Likeness.” Miss. Sports L. Rev. 10 (2021): 239.
Knoester, Chris, and B. David Ridpath. “Should college athletes be allowed to be paid? A public opinion analysis.” Sociology of Sport Journal 38.4 (2020): 399-411.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid? Reasons Why or Why Not.” Maryville Online, 6 Jan. 2022, https://online.maryville.edu/blog/should-college-athletes-be-paid/.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” College Rank, 14 June 2022, https://www.collegerank.net/pay-college-athletes/.
Zema, Phillip. “Should Student-Athletes be Paid?.” Sport, Ethics, and Philosophy 13.2 (2019): 198-212.