Opinions

Paychecks for Student Athletes?

      Through the years, I have been morally challenged by the notion of whether college athletes should be getting paid for their work on the field. I was first presented with this question when I was a marching band saxophone player who spent a lot of time with my high school’s football team. Most of them were continuing the sport in their college years and wanted to receive compensation on top of scholarships for their work. I initially could not fathom the thought of football players being paid, in college, in ways other than scholarships. 

      However, I eventually began to understand the other side of the argument in a conversation I had with a friend from back home. She thought that athletes, especially football players, should be getting paid. At her school, she was paid to write articles for the school newspaper. She did not find her compensation any different from that of a football player. I then thought of the fact that many colleges sell merchandise with athletes’ names on it without giving them money for the sale. I considered a scenario in which an author were to write a book in college and their university published it but kept all the profits. It would have the author’s name on it, not that of the university. This furthered my interest in the heated debate.

      In reference to college athletes being compensated for their sport, there are many benefits to this happening. For one, athletes who come from lower income neighborhoods would be able to support their family back home while they are at school. College students in general, but especially athletes, are pressed for time, and having a job on top school work is sometimes not possible. Having extra money would let athletes focus on their sport and classwork while being able to help their family as much as they can. Also, college athletes should be compensated for the merchandise popular collegiate teams put out. The market for jerseys, hats, and personalized sports gear is immense. This market is funded by the school and put back into the school when some of the profit could be going to the players themselves.

       However, there are many downsides to student athletes being paid, and I do see that. The oldest excuse in the book for college athletes not getting paid is that their main focus should be school, not athletics. This point, although valid, is also assuming that athletes are in college solely for their sport and do not care about their education. This is false, and even when many athletes continue to the national, professional teams, they still value their education. Another con for college athletes being paid would have to be the idea of them being compensated on top of athletic scholarships. Many D1 athletes are given athletic scholarships to play for a certain school. This seems as though the university would be putting more value on sports than students who came in with impeccable grades. However, a downside I could realistically see is the spreading of compensation. Where will the money go? How will it be split? It would be easy to say that it would be split evenly, but in theory, first string players versus third string players do not gross the same sales in merchandise. Thus, there would be a challenge to make paying college athletes fair.

       Although there are many pros and cons to this decision, I believe that an education does come first and that getting a full ride to a top university should be enough, but I still think about the example I gave my friend from back home. If I became an author in college, and my book grossed a million dollars in sales, I would like to see more a profit than just $100,000 in scholarships.

       Source: Huffington Post

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