Collegiate athletes play a sport that they love and like many professional athletes they work hard for that sport. Unlike professional athletes of course, college athletes are not paid a salary for what they do. However college athletes should be compensated for their hard work and dedication under certain circumstances. You see the answer to this question as to whether or not college athletes should be paid is not black and white, rather it falls into a gray area for a number of reasons. The main reason that supports the idea of paying college athletes a salary may surprise you, so read on.
First one needs to look at what current college athletes do receive for their commitment to college sports before deciding if they should be paid. Many people believe that college athletes play hard and play with passion because that is their main driver, there is not multi-million dollar contracts, just records to break and goals to make. College athletes often get ‘paid’ in the form of athletic scholarships officially. Unofficially many of these athletes get ‘paid’ other perks in the form of social life advantages, campus perks, housing preferences, travel perks, and even the sometimes unethical grade boost so that they can stay on the team. But those unofficial ‘perks’ are not fully relevant to this article, although this writer fully believes that if you can’t make the grades and play the sport, then you shouldn’t be allowed to play the sport for your school.
Moving on, many would say that athletic scholarships are payment enough for these athletes and others may go as far as to say that paying them a salary would taint the glory and passion filled days of college sports. But aren’t most professional athletes passionate and motivated in their sports? Millions of dollars surely motivates, but the wear and tear of being a professional athlete means you have to love the sport as well. But paying college athletes these millions wouldn’t be economical and might put too much pressure on these young, passionate athletes.
So why do they deserve a salary of some kind, even if it is only a salary that student workers might make? The reason has little to do with the actual sport, rather all the money the other people are making off these college athletes.
Who are these mysterious other people? They aren’t all that mysterious, after all they are those covering college sports on ESPN and those making the ever popular NCAA versions of your favorite sports video games complete with college logos, mascots, and players. These companies such as ESPN and EA Sports rake in millions from covering college athletics and turning them into video games; many college rake in good cash selling licensing rights to these companies. But it is not only ESPN and EA Games that are making money off college athletes, you also have all the merchandising companies that pay colleges for the rights to use college team logos and names. Let’s not forget the venues that host these sporting events and rake in money on ticket sales and vendor sales.
Yet without the actual athletes playing these sports, none of these companies would be benefiting from the additional revenue these athletes create for them. College athletic programs would have no ‘product’ or image to license without these players either. As you can see, many people and organizations make a lot of money off the hard work and sweat of the college athletes; so much money that even athletic scholarships aren’t really enough. Colleges should share some of this money directly with their athletes. A program that allowed college athletes to also be considered student workers of their college could be paid a hourly or per game rate; it may not have to be much, but at least it will be sharing part of the cash pie that all these other people are making off of them. It does make perfect sense, because without those other student workers that make your food and collect your tickets at these sporting events, there wouldn’t be any event to attend.
As you can see there are many others piggybacking profits off of the backs of our college athletes, from large corporations all the way down to student workers, it would be nice to share a piece of the pie with those that make it all happen on the courts and on the fields.