Should college athletes get paid?

Erika Snyder, Sports Editor


Colleges with big Division 1 programs make hundreds of millions of dollars each year.  The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the largest sports college program in the United States which made $871.6 million in the 2011-2012 season.  Despite the immense amount of money colleges make during a given season, players do not receive a cut of the profit, raising the question of whether or not college athletes should get paid.

Some people feel that college athletes should get paid because they bring in a large amount of money to the school. Athletic programs such as Duke basketball brought in a revenue of $8 million last year. And because the team consistently makes it into the NCAA tournament, also known as March Madness, head coach Mike Krzyzewski gets paid nearly $10 million a year. Basketball and football coaches are the top paid public employees in most states.

College athletes should not get paid because most of them have already received a partial or full scholarship to help pay for their tuitions..  Therefore, these athletes do not have to worry about paying for student loans, textbooks, meal plans and room and board fees. Additionally, many athletes would not be able to afford to go to college if they had not received a scholarship. Studies show that 20% of all student athletes are first-generation college students.

Many students who do not play a sport would love the opportunity to have a free education and not have to worry about being in debt after they graduate. The average debt for a college student after graduation is $32,538. College players should be happy with being able to get a free education while also being able to play the sports they love and the chance to represent their schools.


Moreover, there are many other benefits that come with being a student athlete. Student athletes already have a group of friends from the team. They are also more academically motivated because if their grades are not good enough, then they will not be allowed to play. Athletes also arrive on campus a week or two prior to everyone else so they get the opportunity to learn their way around the school before classes even start.

Another issue with paying college athletes is whether or not all athletes will get paid the same amount. Should someone who is playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference  be getting paid the same amount of money as someone who is playing in a smaller conference such as The Big South?

College athletes need to understand that they are in position that many people dream of being in but many can not attain. There are thousands of children who look up to them and say “I want to be just like them when I grow up.” Playing for money should not be their priority. At this point, their main focus should be on academics and if they want to get paid to play the sport, that is what the professionals are for. Playing a college sport should be about the love, passion and desire to play the game. It should be about making friends that will last a lifetime.

Athletes should realize that they are given the opportunity of a lifetime. They are able to get an education and live out a dream–all for free. They should not feel the need to get paid as they are already given so much.   College, overall, is a place where people should focus on their academics rather than their athletics. It is important for the athletes to notice that student comes before athlete in student-athlete.