Should College Athletes be Paid to Play?

October 7, 2013 4:19 am1,455 comments

The argument on whether or not students should be paid to play college athletics has been ongoing for years. It has especially become a topic of interest amongst several people recently following the controversy surrounding Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel this past summer.

For those unaware of the issue, Manziel was accused of autographing items for profit, which is against NCAA regulations. After the controversy garnered national attention from the media, a settlement was made between Manziel and the NCAA. He served a half-game suspension, and he came back in the second half against Rice University to secure a win for Texas A&M.

Universities can also face disciplinary action from the NCAA if they pay players or are aware their student athletes are being paid. Repercussions for universities range from losing scholarships to facing the “death penalty” – not playing for an entire season.

Some members of the NCAA argue college football should be more about passion than business. The issue with this? The NCAA makes several millions of dollars off these college students.

Which brings up the question: should college athletes be compensated to play any more than they would receive in scholarships?

Some people who support college athletes being paid argue how, without the players, the NCAA would essentially be nothing. The NCAA turns a profit off these athletes through merchandise and advertisements, and some NCAA coaches even earn a seven-figure salary. Players, on the other hand, cannot make a penny through endorsements or their name.

Since the NCAA can profit so much year after year, it seems like pure robbery that student athletes are not paid for their services on the field or court.

Additionally, it can be argued that college athletics have grown corrupt because of rules that bar pay for play. Because college athletics are run as a business behind the scenes as much as any major sports league, coaches and boosters are encouraged to pay college athletes in order to produce a successful team. If college sports are run as a business, then the players need to be treated in businesslike fashion as well.

On the other side of the argument, people opposed to college athletes being paid to play believe the integrity of the game would be ruined if college players earned a salary. Student athletes recruited by Division I and Division II colleges are often granted athletic scholarships, which many argue is essentially monetary compensation for the students.

Furthermore, because a “free ride” is the highest scholarship universities can offer to student athletes, money is not necessarily what sways a student to commit to a college. If additional money was to be offered to athletes, then it is highly possible that money would become a much bigger factor than the campus life of a college, as well as the academic opportunities available there.

Should student-athletes be paid even more than what they would receive in scholarships? It will be a debate that will not subside any time soon.


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