Should College Athletes be Paid for Their Performance?

At most colleges and universities, athletics is an important part of the school’s funds. To preserve the school’s name, colleges rely on the popularity, the ranking of their sports, as well as the team’s performance on televised events to sustain their money supply. There have been countless arguments over the concept of student-athletes not receiving money for their performances on television because they are receiving full ride scholarships from their schools by having their tuition, room, board, and books all paid for.

Many people say the student-athletes should feel grateful that their continued education sufficient enough for them. On the other hand, however, many believe that since the athletes are generating an adequate percentage of the school’s income from their performances, that they should receive a small “piece of the pie” and get paid more than just their scholarship.

In spite of the fact that college athletes have not yet reached the professional level, they are working just as hard as professional players.

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To several athletes, the work they put in is a job to them, and they’re eager to put in the effort and make sacrifices to become the best in their sport. The NCAA, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, enforced the law Title IX, passed in 1972 originally created to preserve the equal rights for men and women, to prevent athletes from receiving money. If college students were paid based on the amount of money their colleges received from sporting events, smaller colleges and universities would be an absolute disadvantage.

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Bigger universities rake in an abundance of money and would be capable of paying their athletes, unlike smaller universities that would be forced to pay their athletes on a tight budget. If this somehow managed to occur, nearly all the high school recruits will choose the bigger, higher ranked colleges because of the larger paycheck, and this could severely affect the smaller schools. In the NCAA, college athletes are recognized as amateur players, and they want to shield their athletes from being motivated and influenced by money. Many argue that athletes shouldn’t be paid because competing in college sports gives them the essential publicity access and practice that they will need when they turn professional. While this claim may be valid for certain competitors, the odds of going pro after college are very thin because they are fighting against hundreds of other high-leveled athletes for the same limited position.

Big name college athletes like Zion Williamson, small forward for Duke University’s basketball team, and Trevor Lawrence, quarterback for Clemson University’s football team, are performing at their highest level for their colleges but are not receiving anything for their efforts. Colleges are receiving massive profits from televised games such as big Bowl games for football or March Madness for basketball, but are the college athletes really getting anything out of it? Student-athletes are receiving full-ride scholarships to play at top colleges in the U.S. such as the University of Alabama, University of Michigan, etc. by having their tuition, room, board, and books all paid for. Big brands like Nike and Under Armour are profiting extremely well when it comes to the huge televised events because they slap their logos on anything and everything the camera can pan over just to get some sort of profit off of it. Michael Wilbon, a co-host on Pardon the Interruption on ESPN states, “If the student as an athlete can find a way, he/she should be able to endorse products, to have paid-speaking gigs, to sell memorabilia” (Wilbon). However, the NCAA is protecting their athletes from exploration by professional and commercial enterprises by not allowing them to create brand endorsements and feature in ads or commercials. With the number of endorsements the school is receiving from Nike, Under Armour, and/or any other big name brands, the players that are wearing the gear and showing off the brands should receive some form of compensation for their work. Only a few college teams are good enough to receive an invitation to go and compete at these big televised events, and they should get paid for their performance at the events.

There’s the issue of how to divide the pay and profits up fairly, but some teams don’t bring in the same amount of revenue as others. “I’m interested in seeing the people who produce the revenue share a teeny, tiny slice of it. That’s right, football and men’s basketball players get paid; lacrosse, field hockey, softball, baseball, soccer players get nothing” (Wilbon). Giving all athletes a small equal stipend of $100 to $150 per month could help spread the costs that are not covered by the grant and create a fair pay for all the athletes. A lot of college athletes accept the full ride scholarships because, without the scholarship, they would not be able to get into the college that could possibly help them go pro. Some student athletic talents are stronger and far more important to colleges than their academics and financial issues.

Top colleges pride themselves on having a very high success rate when it comes to the percentage of their athletes getting drafted by professional teams and most college athletes playing at this high-level only stay at the college for two years and then declare for the draft. The colleges and universities take a leap of faith and provide the families, that are otherwise financially unable to have their kids to go to college, full scholarships because the colleges understand the student-athletes will be leaving college early. The colleges are still continuously making a massive profit over the performance from their players, but only taking out a small percentage of the profits to pay for the students to go to their school.

College players deserve to get paid some sort of payment from the school they attend, but the lines are fuzzy about how they should divide the pay between teams and how to fairly disperse the revenue from the big televised events such as March Madness or the big Bowl games for football. The reality of coverage of athletes is an obligation not only to keep the high level of competition in college athletics but also to promote students to graduate and receive their college degrees. College athletes are not granted the ability to work on or off campus, even if they have extra time during the day because they are at the college to perform at a high level to bring profit to the university. If the athlete doesn’t make it to the professional leagues it creates the issue of lack of experience necessary to get a good paying job.

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Should College Athletes be Paid for Their Performance?. (2020, Oct 13). Retrieved from

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