Student athletes make up a good percentage of college campuses, having an individual sacrifice their time and focus on both schooling as well as a desired sport. What many don’t know is that many of our student athletes spend so much of their time focusing on sports and schooling, that they don’t or can’t have some spare time to work on the side to make cash for expenses such as living cost, food cost and basic leisure spending. I have heard many stories of student athletes not being able to eat good enough meals and living on a day to day salary provided by financial aid or even from families that don’t have much to offer.
I have chosen this topic to provide a in depth look on how a majority of student athletes live their lives, facing great deals of stress without having enough money to live a well-maintained life. I want to shed light on the faults schools are making by not providing their student athletes with the necessities to be able to achieve. For those who decide to take the toll, face many tough obstacles in their way, but knowing these outcomes, many upcoming college athletes that have a desire to play decide not to because of the enormous risk it takes to actually make it.
Not having researched enough on this topic, I want to find out if it really is as hard as they say for student athletes. Do a majority of college athletes struggle on a day to day basis, or do they have enough support to live a well-balanced life. I want to focus on the perspective of students and if they statistically earn enough with financial aid and other grants to keep a sane overview on their goals ahead. I want to know how many students do live in need of extra help and if so, what are the main reasons for the struggles they have.
Being a student athlete myself, I understand where other college athletes come from when they say they can’t live a balanced life with both school and sports. Money is a big deal when trying to be independent, and having that job on the side is rewarding; but trying to juggle so many things at once can be very wearing on the mind. It is easy to lose that focus that one needs and I understand why upcoming students decide to just leave sports alone and just stay with the education, because like me, I choose to have enough space for what I can handle and sports doesn’t come across that space for me to have a chance to live a comfortable life in my future ahead.
To have a good understanding on my topic, I first had to research how many student athletes are really being affected by the lack of income they rake in. I learned that the average athlete spent around $3,222 out of pocket to provide for their entire school year. According to TimeCollegeSport.com, “85% of players living on campus and 86% of players living off campus live below the federal poverty line”. This statistic was recorded in the schools of Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Then I researched some of the main reasons why student athletes have such trouble maintaining an adequate amount of focus and if those reasons are much greater affecting than a money standpoint.
I understand why many people believe that it is solely based on the student themselves and their motives to actually do what is necessary to achieve their goal. Student athletes do face a great deal of adversity with time management and setting priorities straight, and that is why some do believe that it is the student who needs the work instead of any financial issue. There can also be a debate whether the student doesn’t have enough motivation to reach their set goals. I myself do see this a lot in close friends of mine who just lack the care of education or importance of progression, living just for the now entirely and not thinking so much about the future. All of those obstacles faced by student athletes are not to be dismissed because they do affect a student from progressing towards future plans, but if you think about it, money is needed to survive Money is used to do what you truly want to do and have the freedom to live a comfortable life whether it be paying for living expenses or food cost. A social life and have the necessities to run a busy life revolve around income, which gives you the option to do many things. It usually makes life easier if used responsibly with traveling with your own automobile and buying the right foods to live healthy and maintain a diet which plays a big part in most sports. Having the stress free living of coming to a living space that is comfortable and provides you with what is needed to be secure and protected. What had really caught my attention was that I first believed that schools would just turn an eye to paying their student athletes but instead involve many issues that should be spotlighted and brought to change. According to Time.com , “despite athletic programs’ record revenues, salaries and capital expenditures — as well as prohibitions on countless sources of income for athletes — the NCAA explicitly allows college athletes to accept food stamps and welfare benefits”. If colleges see that student athletes are dealing with hardships financially, then I do not understand why allowing your players to receive state and government aid, for taxpayers to eventually take care of it is okay.
NCAA is already making a profit off of the students that they recruit, so they should be provided with some sort of income to provide them a stable life. I do understand that programs might see it as a risk giving money to a young and growing individual, but it would also stop illegal money offers for top prospects and under the radar profits as well as increase the rate of students academic standings as well as graduation. GoodNonProfit.com states, “If reform takes place, graduation rates will increase dramatically, their financial desperation will be reduced, and they will finally receive their commercial free market value”.
In conclusion, I believe that with all the obstacles faced, student athletes should receive some sort of income to keep them financially stable to maintain focus on both sport and education. Even if it would be paying for living expenses and school related purchases, they should not be profited from instead of collecting a profit for their own well being. I know now that the struggles that are talked about amongst student athletes are a real issue and that a big problem influencing these acts are from big corporations like the NCAA. If it is brought to the attention that helping your athletes could improve the life choices of those individuals, than personally I would change my mind on leaving my passion for football and track behind, and feel comfortable pursuing this goal of mine. People may believe that individuals who play sports are just playing games, but to many it is their lives and willing to put it all down on the line for what they love no matter the risk. Sports teach an individual life lessons and leadership, expanding the mind to think for themselves which can create a path that leads to education and success; with the right tools a new light will be shined upon following their dreams.
Works Cited Page
Nance-Nash, Sheryl. NCAA Rules Trap Many College Athletes In Poverty. 13 Sep. 2011,
“Student Athlete Struggles.” Gradesfirst.com, 2014, gradesfirst.com/5-reasons-student-athletes- struggle-academically/.
“Why Student Athletes Continue To Fail.” Time, Time, time.com/3827196/why-student-athletes-fail/.