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Pay College Athletes

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Pay College Athletes

        The National Collegiate Athletic Association(NCAA) is a multibillion dollar industry. This is mainly due to the athletes who eat, sleep, and breathe basketball. However, these players do not receive a penny for themselves. They devote most of their college life to play the sport they love, and often it is done without hesitation. Student athletes work extremely hard and deserve to get paid, this is an issue that the NCAA must consider.

        In the article Pay College Athletes, author Mounir Lynch states, “To student-athletes, their sport is their job. There is not much time for anything else.” This intrigued me because I was a student athlete myself, playing basketball and volleyball. I remembered the extreme hours spent practicing, playing games, and traveling. It was often difficult to complete all my school assignments and study efficiently. Also, like most student athletes, I constantly had to deal with the pressure to perform on and off the court.  On average, college athletes practice at least thirty hours a week, which is close to the amount of time being put in for part time and even full-time occupations. Aside from being full time athletes, they are also full-time students. Student athletes are required to attend and pass all their classes. Failure to do so often leads to athletic suspension, academic suspension, and depending on severity it can result in termination from the team. Student athletes have so much on their plate and sometimes feel like there are not enough hours in the day for them. They deserve opportunities to be rewarded for their sacrifices.

        Student athletes attract unbelievable amounts of attention and revenue to their school. People will sometimes go to a school solely based on the prestige of their athletic organizations. College sports are a big deal and usually act as the heartbeat of a campus. These young athletes sell out arenas and can bring in as many fans as a lot of professional teams do. “However, these funds often go to upgrading facilities that often don’t need to be upgraded. The coaches make more than the profits of the programs they coach, athletes see little to no reward(Lynch).” It is often argued that many college athletes receive a free education; shouldn’t that be enough? What most people fail to realize is Division 1 athletes either receive a full ride or nothing. Most of the Division 2 scholarships are partial, which can range from tuition being payed or just books. Division 3 does not give out athletic scholarships at all…so athletes must cover whatever costs they can from academic scholarships. Although it may seem easy to obtain a full ride, only 3% of NCAA athletes get their whole tuition payed for. The harsh reality is that most athletes aren’t brought to their college to get an education. When it comes to highly ranked players and powerhouse programs, their main purpose is to help their coach win a national championship. Shabazz Napier, who led his basketball team to a national championship in 2014 stated, “We do have hungry nights that we don't have enough money to get food in. Sometimes money is needed. Although there are times where I go to bed starving, I still have to play up to my capabilities(Nichols).” Hundreds of millions of dollars are being made off these athletes and many of them struggle to pay for meals, clothes, etc. They devote so much of their time and energy daily. As a result, athletes are beginning to desire more compensation for their hard work. Imagine how much more potential players can achieve if they could be compensated. Athletes would be able to afford trainers and the necessary aid to get them ready for a potential professional career in their sport. More importantly, they would obtain the ability to pay off their college debt if they were not given the opportunity to receive an athletic scholarship.

Students and athletic organizations get severely punished for violating NCAA sanctions when they give or receive compensation. In the past, athletes have been stripped of their athletic achievements due to violating NCAA sanctions and often are put under investigation. The sanctions are frustrating because it has nothing to do with one’s athletic ability and achievements, yet they are punished and stripped of awards and recognitions because of receiving money. Paying all players, regardless of how much, can help diminish corruption in the NCAA.  However, an argument in favor of refusing to compensate athletes is how it can create bias when students are finalizing their college selections. Another belief is that it will affect the academic integrity of an organization. “The belief is student athletes are taking detours through college, just waiting to be drafted(Thompson-Burnett).” Students should be evaluated and judged solely based on their athletic performance and be allowed to be compensated and offered endorsements. It is extremely important to reward student athletes of their sacrifices being made to achieve consistent greatness.

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