Over decades, Division I athletes have been pouring their heart and soul into their sport they worked so hard for day after day, week after week. For years, athletes’ love of the game has got them to a university where they can showcase their ability and talent. When you are at the Division I level it is more or less a business, and your job is to bring in a profit for the university. A true athlete plays the game out of passion. In recent years, there has been a controversial question that lingers in every athlete’s mind: should students who play a sport get the extra benefit of being paid because they’re a college athlete? The answer is no. Student athletes should not get paid because they receive beneficial scholarships, they sign the National Letter of Intent, and they are a student before they are an athlete.
My first point is scholarships come with many benefits. “About two percent of high school athletes are awarded athletic scholarships to compete in college” (NCAA, 2011). It is a privilege to get the opportunity to play at the collegiate level, let alone be awarded an athletic scholarship. This opportunity should not be taken for granted. To play at the collegiate level is something all athletes dream of and for most, it is the highest level of competition. After doing some research, I noticed that when asked if student athletes should be paid, the results were split between yes, not sure, and no. Student-athletes being paid would only create more of a problem for other athletes, students, and universities. Student-athletes are already being paid from the scholarship and other benefits from the university.
The scholarship includes tuition, books, food, and housing. An article published online at ncaa.org states that scholarships on average are over $100,000 a year (The Sport Digest, 2002-2010). On top of a scholarship, student athletes are given other benefits such as free tutors, scheduling benefits, trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, free facilities, clothes, and equipment. At some universities all the extra benefits that athletes receive can total $200,000 over all four years (The Sport Digest, 2002-2010). If the athletic scholarship and all the benefits were to be added together, student athletes are making over $150,000 a year.
Second, when athletes sign their National Letter of Intent, they are signing a contract that says that they are going to play for a university or a school in exchange for a scholarship. Before signing, student-athletes are aware that they cannot receive extra benefits from other organizations. Athletes are committing to represent the university, not their individual name. While representing the university, they also will represent the companies that sponsor the universities and the team. Universities can be sponsored by types of brand names like: Adidas, Nike, and Under Armour. Although the companies are sponsoring the university, they are also sponsoring the individual athlete as well.
A student-athlete can receive shirts, socks, shoes, etc. just for being a part of the athletic team at the university. According to research, more than half of student-athletes said they spend seven or more hours a week outside of scheduled practices, on their sport (The Sport Digest 2002-2010) All student-athletes devote the same amount of time, how could it be fair to determine who gets paid and who gets cut? If teams get cut it will leave athletes with no sport to play and all their hard work will be wasted.
Third, student athletes are focusing on getting an education as well as their sport whereas professionals are just focusing on their sport. People fall in love with college athletics because the athlete is playing for the school and not for the money. Money to go towards academics would be slim due to the fact that athletes were being paid. These are major issues the university will face that will lead to the athletic departments of universities becoming businesses instead of helping athletes receive an education. “Scholarships are not a way to facilitate the education of those who would not otherwise have the means to attend. Scholarships were not intended to be a way to attract top athletes to a school who have no interest in gaining an education. But, in many cases that is what they have become” (Bleacher Report Nov. 20, 2011).
Some may argue that athletes like Johnny Manziel, who get their name sold on things should make money. It’s the students’ name the universities are
selling and making profits from. However, fans are just trying to show support and the scholarships are beneficial enough that a student doesn’t need to be paid. As soon as athletes start being paid, the universities will become popular to athletes because of how much they are paying the athlete instead of who can offer the best education. Athletic departments will start talking to athletes about business deals and negotiating money. A negotiation between a potential college athlete and coach could be the coach offering the athlete a full ride plus an extra $3,000 a month.
Student athletes should not be paid because they get beneficial scholarships, they know what they are signing up for when they sign their National Letter of Intent, and students athletes are in college for an education first before being an athlete. An anonymous quote I found reads, “We do not play for the scholarship possibilities. We do not just play for the exercise. We play because every moment that we are on the field is a minute where all of our problems disappear. We play for that one game when all the hours of practicing come together and our play is flawless. We play because we were born to play. We play because we love the game.”
Athletic scholarships. (Jan, 30). Retrieved from
http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/nli/nli/document_library/athletic_scholarship National collegiate athletic association . (2011). Retrieved from http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/Test/Issues/Why_student-athletes_are_not_paid_to_play
Sturgilll, S. (2010, April 21). United States sports academy America. Retrieved from http://thesportsdigest.com/archive/should-student-athletes-get-paid
Velure, M. (2011, Sept 13). College football players: You are already being paid. Retrieved from http://bleacherreport.com/articles/847672-college-football-players-you-are-already-being-paid