Should College Athletes be Paid?


            Should college athletes be paid? Over the past 50 years, college athletes have been living off scholarships and loans. Those scholarships don’t however help athletes as much as one would imagine. You see amateurism, the risk of not performing well enough, and pressure from schools make life tough on these athletes. However, as all that is true, recent reports have found out about sneaky tricks and deals colleges give to athletes that make their lives comfortable.

            The NCAA, National Collegiate Athletic Association, makes hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to the players who generate so much money for them. The NCAA’s financial statement, as it appears on the NCAA’s official website, shows that the revenue from television, marketing rights, championships, tournaments, investment, income, and sales total up to more than $4,500,000,000. Also, the website explains that the goal of the NCAA is to ensure that an athlete’s first priority is to be a student, then an athlete. To make sure that this policy is maintained, the NCAA has adopted amateurism for its athletes. Athletes are not allowed to have contracts with professional teams, receive a salary for participating in athletics, or play and practice with professionals. The goal of the NCAA is that all athletes receive andobtain a worth-while education, and that they compete fairly; however, NCAA has established that full athletic scholarships must not fully cover the cost of attendance. Students are only provided with a free education while playing a sport.

            If the NCAA won’t pay the athletes, they should at least let them be able to practice, train, or leave the NCAA to play professional during their college years. Also, writers like Stanley Eitzen has compared the NCAA “corrupt” system to a slavery system. The profit made by the NCAA does not go to the student athletes, but to the coaches, assistant coaches, and athletic directors. According to Andrew Zimbalist, professor of economics at Smith College, who specializes in sport business, says that the reason why the NCAA coaches make so much is that universities, unlike professional teams, do not pay their athletes. The NCAA could allow the payment of athletes for generating this income, but because they believe in keeping college sports at the amateur level, the athletes don’t receive any of the profit that the NCAA makes. Zimbolist also defined amateurism as, “someone who engages in the activity for fun, not remuneration.” In the scholarly article “Should College Athletes be Paid?”, the author, John Brill, states that, “…the NCAA defies its own devotion to amateurism are the sale of video games licenses, game merchandise, footage, etc., that provide direct profit for the association”(John Brill, Should College Athletes be Paid?, The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism). The NCAA says that college athletes are “students first” then they are athletes. But this statement is false. Having all those video games licenses and all, the NCAA is clearly making large sums of money. That money the NCAA makes clearly comes from the athletes, but none of video game licenses or merchandise goes to the athletes; it goes to the NCAA and schools. The colleges pay the coaches, assistant coaches, and athletic directors with the profits made from media contracts, television rights and ticket sales. According to the article, Special Report: Coaches hit jackpot in NCAA system by USA Today, Steve Alford, the men’s UCLA basketball coach, received $2.6 million in 2017 and over $845,000 in bonuses to cover his taxes when he was bought from the University of New Mexico. The University of Texas Head Football Coach Mack Brown’s salary is more than $5 million. The amount of money that is given to the whole University of Texas Football team in scholarships is a bit over $3 million. “Clearly, the NCAA does not need the coaches to maintain an amateur status” (John Brill, Should College Athletes be Paid?, The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism). Mr. Kirwan, chair of the Knight Commission and Advocacy Group, which aims to reform college sports, explains that “colleges want to have the reputation of being committed to athletics” (Peter and Berkowitz, Special Report: Coaches Hit Jackpot in NCAA System, USA Today). Thus when normal people, like us, say “Hey sign this coach! He will make the season better and take us to the playoffs,” universities won’t back down because they want to keep the crowds happy. The public and alumni pressure schools to make expensive hires.

            College athletes bring us the game we love to watch, they put in hard work, and they sacrifice to satisfy their colleges. The life of a college athlete is tough. They pay out of their pocketsfor expenses for food, clothing, and whatever else they need because it is not covered by athletic scholarships, and they cannot afford to get a side job because of the incredible amount of time spent on training. In an article from Business Insider, “the average NCAA college football player in Division One spends over 40 hours a week on their game,” (Peter Jacobs, Here’s The Insane Amount of Time Student-Athletes Spend on Practice, Business Insider). That is almost as much as a full time employee. Consider also that if an athlete is injured, he is no longer allowed to stay on the team, which means any form of scholarship gets terminated. Colleges are not required to pay for surgeries or treatments. Without a salary to afford medical care, athletes are left untreated, and the coaches, who look after themselves and their reputation, dismiss the injured athletes. Athletes too are not guaranteed renewal of their athletic scholarships if they do not perform to their coaches’ satisfaction or if they get injured. There is always a danger that a student might be removed from a team and, therefore, loose scholarships. Scholarships do help, but not all colleges guarantee multi-year scholarships. If paid, athletes could set up a foundation for their future.

              If colleges were to pay athletes, there would be no reason to go to school. If the athletes were paid, it would make other college students jealous or confused as to why they aren’t receiving pay.  Andrew Zimbalist said that, “If we pay the athletes maybe we should also do it for the first violinist in the school orchestra, or the lead actor in theatrical productions, and perhaps popular professors should allocate course enrollment slots to those students who bid the highest” (Andrew Zimbalist, College Athletes Should Not Get Paid, The Atlantic). If that were to happen, college would cost a lot more because the money to afford scholarships, facilities, professors, faculty, staff, salaries for the players, utilities, etc, would be too much. The money would have to come from somewhere. And the only way colleges could get more money, is too charge more. The average college student would be paying a lot of money. Also because of this, the chance of receiving any form of scholarship whether you’re and athlete or just a normal student would be so low, that only the best athletes or smartest students would be accepted for the scholarships. That would be unfair. These athletes are paid in the form of scholarships. Most college athletes are receiving scholarships with an average of sixty-thousand dollars a year. Depending on the school that recruited them, college athletes are receiving scholarships that equal the tuition, room, and board per year or more.

            Another downfall of not paying college athletes is that they are encouraged by colleges to take easier classes and pursue easy degrees.  In the article, “How Athletes End Up in Easy Majors and Fake Classes,” John Infante from Sporting News explains that colleges assure the public that their athletes will graduate even if it means that the athletes end up with degrees that don’t generate good incomes. It is impossible to play sports at the college level while trying to receive a good education. John Brill from The Shirley Povich Centre for Sports Journalism states, “Coaches will at times schedule less challenging classes, or ones that will fit easier into a practice schedule. These points make it seem like “athlete” really does come before “student”” (John Brill, Should College Athletes be Paid, The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism). Isn’t that messed up? A benefit of receiving a salary would be that the athletes would be in control of how they spend their money. They can afford to choose activities available at the colleges and not be forced into programs that have no long run benefits.

            However, they chose to play out of their own will. No one forces them to play sports, and they can resort to paying for school in the same manner that most students do: through other scholarships, loans, etc. This is just like how college band performers are; they do not receive any compensation for when they are not studying. They choose to play in the band. The choice they make is like eating. You chose to eat that slice of pizza; no one told you “eat that slice of pizza or else!” Also, according to the NCAA’s website, “NCAA Divisions I and II schools provide more than $2.9 billion in athletics scholarships annually to more than 150,000 student-athletes” (NCAA,Scholarships, NCAA). The athlete is ultimately able to choose any major he wants to graduate in. Even though the school pressures the athlete to take easy classes, the athlete has the will to not do so. If the athlete properly manages his time, he or she will be able to major in whatever they choose while being able to play sports. Mark Emmert, head of the NCAA, delivers a strong case as to why the NCAA should not pay athletes. He said, “If college athletes were to start being paid, many schools would leave Division I sports. And the universities that stayed in Division I sports would have to start cutting other, less popular sports to be able to afford the salaries. There would be less competition and no more national championship games — at least not in their current form.” Former UCLA basketball player and now a rookie NBA star, Lonzo Ball revealed on February 23, 2018, that, “Everybody knows everybody’s (college athletes) getting paid & that’s how it is. Everybody’s getting paid anyway. You might as well make it legal…” Universities are already paying college athletes behind the back illegally. Universities are pulling out funds to support college athletes and their families. In the article, NCAA Top 5: Athletes who Got Paid To Play, David Purdum explains that players like Reggie Bush received around one-hundred thousand dollars, and the USC gave Bush’s family a seven-hundred thousand dollar home and an estimate of thirty-thousand dollars to pay off old debts. Bush was also reported to have received one-thousand five hundred dollars a week for other expenses. Players like Eric Dickerson and Marcus Camby were also paid under the table.

            Should college athletes be paid? To recap, they are getting paid under the table and if they did receive pay, it would destroy the college systems. However, only the best college athletes are “secretly” getting paid, what about the rest? There needs to be equality and equity for all the college athletes.















Works Cited

Berkowitz, Josh Peter and Steve. “Special Report: Coaches Hit Jackpot in NCAA System.”USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 2 Apr. 2014,    USA Today states how much NCAA coaches make. The major universities with Division I sports revenue for the coaches are exposed byUSA Today. The article then goes on to explain that none of the money is used for the athletes. I am going to use their ideas in my report and possibly quote them a few times. This source is popular.

Brill, John. “Should College Athletes Be Paid?” The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism,            9 May 2013, In this article, Brill is arguing that College athletes should be paid. He states how much the NCAA is making and explains why the college athletes should be paid. In my report, I am going to use some of his examples and I am going to quote him possibly a few times. This source is scholarly.

Eitzen, D. Stanley. “Slaves of Big-Time College Sports.” “Slaves of Big-Time College Sports” by Eitzen, D. Stanley – USA TODAY, Vol. 129, Issue 2664, September 2000 | Online Research Library: Questia, USA Today, Sept. 2000, Here, Eitzen takes all the numbers and    calculates all the currency the NCAA makes from their sports. From basketball to football to soccer, Eitzen exposes how much the NCAA makes and proves her point that the athletes are slaves to the system. I will quote possibly quote and take ideas from “Slaves of Big-Time College Sports”. This source is popular.

Gregory, Sean. “It’s Time to Pay College Athletes.” Time, Time, 16 Sept. 2013, time-to-pay-college-athletes/. In the article “It’s Time to Pay College Athletes”, Gregory uses a story to show how the NCAA is wrong and corrupt. He then shows the numbers to prove that the NCAA can do a lot more like pay players. I will acquire ideas and thoughts from this article. This article is popular and scholarly source.

Huma, Ramogi, and Ellen J Staurowsky. “The Price of Poverty in Big Time College             Sport.”Http://,    26 May 2016,The-Price-of-Poverty-in-Big-Time-College-Sport.pdf&p=DevEx,5066.1. In this article, Huma and Staurowsky tackle on why the NCAA should pay athletes. The authors both used stories of athletes, real life situations, and the NCAA’s revenue to    compose this masterpiece. I will use ideas and possible quote from this article. This is a popular source.

           Hurst, Thomas R. “Payment of Student-Athletes: Legal and Practical Obstacles.” “Payment of     Student-Athletes: Legal & (and) Practical Obstacles” by Thomas R. Hurst, 2000,    Here, Hurst explains how much the NCAA makes and how some of that money can be used to pay college athletes. I will take ideas and facts from this source in my report. This source is scholarly.

Infante Contributor , John. “How Athletes End up in Easy Majors and Fake Classes.” Sporting News, Sporting News, 11 June 2014,    rashad-mccants-2014-nba-ncaa-college-basketball-fake-classes-easy-  majors/1ap6285n69pcg1bnfhn2ppitvh. In “How athletes end up in easy majors and fake classes”, John Infante takes up the mantle of exposing the NCAA for making athletes choose easy and dumb majors. Infante also explains why the NCAA does this. I will use ideas and facts for my report from this source. This source is popular.

Jones, Maurice Reed. “Why College Athletes Should Not Be Paid.” The Odyssey Online, The Odyssey, 28 Aug. 2017,  paid. In this article, the Odyssey explains why college athletes should not be paid. Jones explains reasons that would destroy the college system. I will use this article to support my   reasons as to why college athletes should not be paid. This is a popular source.

NCAA. “Amateurism.” – The Official Site of the NCAA, 24 Apr. 2014, I will use the official website of the NCAA to state facts and I will quote them. This is a direct source for my report. It is scholarly.

NCAA. “Finances.” – The Official Site of the NCAA, 26 May 2016,    I will use the official website of the NCAA to state facts and I will quote them. This is a direct source for my report. It is scholarly.

Peter, Josh. “Mark Emmert Says NCAA Needs to Be Flexible on Athletes with Eyes on Pros.”USA         Today, USA Today, 27 Mar. 2016, 10:36 a.m, In “Mark Emmert says NCAA needs to be flexible on athletes with eyes on pros” Josh Peter shows that the president of the NCAA himself explains the flaws of the system. I will obtain ideas and possibly quote from this article in my report. This is a popular source

Peterson, Kristina. “College Athletes Stuck with the Bill After Injuries.” The New York Times, The New  York Times, 16 July 2009, In this article, Peterson explains how college athletes scholarships can be terminated. She shows all the ways how the athletes go from hero to zero. I will use this article to provide examples in   my report. This is a popular source.

Purdum, David Payne. “NCAA Top 5: Athletes Who Got Paid To Play.” Covers, Covers, 18 Nov.           2010, In this article, Purdum shows that athletes get paid under the table. He goes in depth on certain players and how much they were paid. I will use this article to back up what I am stating in my report. This is a popular source.

US News. “Should NCAA Athletes Be Paid?” Https://, US News, 2 Apr. 2013, 9:15 A.M. US News states that in this article the NCAA makes over Six billion dollars or more every year. The company exposes the NCAA for making huge profits and then make suggestions as to what all the money should be used for. I will get ideas and possibly quote from this article. This is a popular source.

Walsh, Meghan. “’I Trusted ‘Em’: When NCAA Schools Abandon Their Injured    Athletes.” The             Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 1 May 2013, In this article, Walsh brings out the truth of the NCAA. She uses the stories of athletes and how much the NCAA really makes to present to the world how corrupt the NCAA is. I will use this article’s ideas for my report. This is a popular source.

Warren, Nick. “The Economic Feasibility of Paying College Athletes.” Home, Texas Christian      University, 19 May 2017, In this research paper, Nick Warren talks about the NCAA and how they can pay their athletes. With lots of     data and facts, Warren is able to prove that the NCAA can pay athletes. I will use the ideas   and I will possibly quote from Warren’s paper. This is a scholarly source.

Zimbalist, Andrew. “College Athletes Should Not Get Paid.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 20 Sept. 2011, In this article, Andrew Zimbalist explains why college athletes should not be paid. He gives multiple examples. I will use this to back up of why college athletes shouldn’t be paid. This is a popular source.×1200/1200×800/filters:focal(338×376:482×520)/×450-noPad.jpg?1462753726—-shocked—/article_2a097151-1960-5a1d-a2bc-603dd8fc80a2.html