College Athletes Should Be Paid to Compete in College Games

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Central Idea: Sports in college exemplifies the epitomes of amateurism that offers a crucial supplement to University education, giving incentives encourages students to engage in the sport and therefore should be mandatory.

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Your son or your brother or your cousin is in a college football or basketball team.

Picture him sweating himself out, waking up every morning to jog, and sacrificing his buddy time to practice.

Some get concussions, others get life-threatening injuries, all just so as the team wins.

And when the team wins the national championships all he gets is the trophy, and nothing more.

And mind you, the team gets thousands of dollars for winning. Is this really a fair deal?

It is true that they earn the bragging rights and the publicity and the fame, but all these will not pay bills at the end of the day.

My question is, should college athletes be paid?

While all this is happening, NCAA and broadcasting firms make millions of dollars from these teams.

CBS and Turner Broadcasting made a whopping one billion dollars of these games.

Let's explore why college athletes should be paid.


College athletes have it tougher than the pros. They have to strike a balance between their studies and winning trophies.

Also bear in mind that these athletes do not have much time left to engage in income-earning activities.

Pros bring fame to their teams, win trophies too, and they still get paid. College athletes bring fame to their schools, despite their tighter schedules but they still not get paid.

It doesn't make much sense.


The only sure way one can earn money from sports is when you get the chance to play in the NBA, MLB or NFL. It is not a guarantee that college athletes will get the chance to play in these leagues.

It would make sense if college athletes were paid so that in case bad comes to worse they would at least have earned some money from their sporting experience.


Some colleges are basking in fame and glory thanks to the prowess of their sporting teams.

It would be best if these colleges would at least pay their athletes some few bucks just as a sign of gratitude for a job well done.

Besides, the coaches get paid, so why not play the athletes too?


Some athletes sustain serious injuries during these games. Kevin Ware of the Louisville basketball team suffered a horrifying broken leg during a game.

Luckily he underwent successful surgery and he can therefore play future games.

The scenario could have been worse, where a player could sustain injuries that could render him unable to play any games in their lifetime.

It would be prudent to pay athletes so that in case of any such eventualities they will be able to fend for themselves with the money.

On the flip side, maybe NCAA has a point in asserting that college athletes should not be paid. Here is why:


College scholarships are enough and fair compensation for them. The students do not have to worry about school fees, getting student loans or on-campus living costs as all these are catered for.

Based on the report from the Institute for College Access and Success, in the state of Pennsylvania, more than 70% of college students leave a public four-year institution or non-profit four-year institution in debt.

Looking at it from this perspective, majority of college students would consider it a privilege playing for a college team just as long as they do not shoulder the financial burden.


There is also the problem of determining the importance of each sport. Will all the athletes from all sports be paid the same?

It would almost be bordering absurdity to pay a uniform rate to all athletes. Some games are aired on national television, attracting millions of viewers whereas some do not attract much following.

No belittling athletes from sports that do not attract huge following; but paying a same flat rate to all athletes would not be fair.

In conclusion, the debate on whether college athletes should be paid should be approached with sanity; considering all factors.


Perlman, J. , & Flores, A. (2015). Students, athletes - and taxpayers?. Accounting Today, 29(1), 20.

SCHNEIDER, R. (2001). College students' perceptions on the payment of intercollegiate student-athletes. College Student Journal, 35(2), 232.

Griffin, T. (2012). Payment of college student-athletes at the center of legal battles. Texas Bar Journal, 75(11), 850.

Bearman, T. (2012). Intercepting licensing rights: Why college athletes need a federal right of publicity. Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, 15(1), 85.

Johnson, D. , & Acquaviva, J. (2012). Point/counterpoint: Paying college athletes. Sport Journal, 15(1).

Cullen, F. , Latessa, E. , & Jonson, C. (2012). Overview of: assessing the extent and sources of NCAA rule infractions: A national self-report study of student athletes. Criminology & Public Policy, 11(4), 665-666.

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