Last Updated 01 Nov 2022

Controversy Surrounding Whether College Athletes Should Be Paid

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College athletics has grown in popularity over the last 20 years or so, resulting in significant income for the NCAA and its subsidiaries. The controversy over whether college athletes should be charged in addition to their scholarships has yet to be resolved. Some claim that athletes contribute substantially to college income from sports programs and thus deserve a share of the profits. Others contend that athletes are already being paid because they earn scholarships and other benefits. There has always been talk that this decision will be made officially, but there are still questions about whether they should be compensated or not. When reading this research paper, the reader would be able to address the question of whether or not student athletes at the college level should be paid to compete by investigating all of the possibilities for and against paying the athletes outside their athletic scholarship.

The issue of whether or not compensating student-athletes has become a point of contention. This topic has been a serious topic that to this day has not been answered. Mixed feelings have always existed, particularly among college athletes. As a current baseball player, I understand how much effort it takes to be a good student-athlete. You must be able to balance your academic workload, which comes first, with your desire to practice and play the sport for which you went to school. Division 1 varies from divisions 2 and 3 in that the primary emphasis in division 1 is on the athletic side, as athletic scholarships are awarded, while division 2 rarely awards athletic scholarships to athletes. Division 3 does not allow for athletic scholarships and instead offers academic scholarships based on a student's grades and financial situation.

Based on this, there are a variety of reasons why student-athletes feel they should be compensated, but doing so could result in a slew of problems that should be avoided. There are numerous reasons why student athletes should be paid to participate, but there are also numerous drawbacks to doing so. Universities should find a way to reward student athletes for their talents and contributions to the university, but could lead to a logistical burden for colleges and universities, with detrimental consequences for college sports.

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Seeking information about whether or not student athletes should be paid was accomplished by the use of scholarly sources from our library database as well as commercial websites that offer accurate and credible information to assist me in providing information about why they should be paid as well as why they should not be paid. There were several websites that agreed and disagreed with this subject and offered their own perspectives. Not only did I use websites to find details, but since I have personal experience as a collegiate student athlete for the past 5 years, I found it easy to provide my experience and stance on this situation, as well as what I believe is the best scenario for resolving this ongoing issue. Being able to find details about how to fairly pay all divisions of the NCAA or the problems that will arise as a result will help in reaching a conclusion. I have also gathered other people's perspectives on the current situation to help me reach a firmer decision on which stance to take on this subjekts.

It takes a lot of work to be a student athlete, both athletically and academically. College sports consumes the same amount of time as a full-time work. College athletes devote at least 40 hours a week to their chosen sport, which includes both sports and training sessions.

Without putting in a lot of effort academically and athletically, they risk losing their place on the squad as well as their athletic scholarship. Athletes will have to take time away from school in order to give their sport their all. Athletes in Division 1 make athletics their top priority because it is the basis of their scholarship. Paying them could make games more competitive because it would improve the students' incentive to work harder, allowing them to retain their ranking while also relieving some of the tension from their financial conditions, allowing them to concentrate more on the game. Athletic scholarships cover their tuition, college fees, and housing, but the players are responsible for any personal expenses that arise during their time at college. This can be a significant burden, and it can cause stress or place student athletes in a difficult position to assist themselves (College Sports Madness, 2020).

College athletes end up bringing in a large net amount of revenue to their schools. The NCAA made $18.9 billion in a single year, which is usually split among administrators, athletic directors, coaches, and media outlets, but college athletes aren't paid for their contributions to the NCAA (Salarship, n.d.). It takes up a lot of our attention, as a college athlete myself. Athletes spend 6-7 days a week either playing games or practicing, which is comparable to working a full-time job. It's difficult to find a career that pays well when juggling all of this and academics. For example, a potential workstudy job in New Jersey that pays $12 per hour and requires 35 hours a week will pay $1,680 per month. That is only focused on minimum wage, and this funding will go a long way toward helping a lot of student athletes spend money on themselves or their college needs. Athletes must be compensated if they are injured. They are constantly at risk of injury, and as a result, they are entitled to fair compensation.

If a student-athlete is severely injured, it will result in the loss of their scholarship (which is usually awarded on a year-by-year basis), the chance of playing professionally and earning millions, or, in the worst-case scenario, a permanent impairment that would have a significant impact on the outcome of their life (Drozdowski, 2021). Students will be encouraged to be healthier athletes as a result of this. It will provide an extra opportunity to play as only 2% of college athletes go on to play professional sports. Giving student athletes anything extra will encourage them to pay for expenditures not covered by their scholarship. Depending on whether colleges are allowed to pay student athletes, this could lead to universities being able to obtain better athletes who would stay in the programs for longer. The end aim is for students to achieve a degree, which is the most important goal, because if athletes are being paid, they can stay with the program until they graduate and receive a degree. Paying college athletes does not imply that all other students' tuition costs will rise. Some institutions' expenses will actually decrease (Gaille, 2018).

While the concept of paying college athletes is appealing in theory, the financial burden that such a decision would place on individual college sports programs would be important. Just about 20 college athletic programs are actually profitable, according to a study cited by the NCAA. If the NCAA required student-athletes to be paid at all colleges and universities, the majority of athletic teams would be unable to pay compensation to their players. This means that the few athletic institutions that can afford to pay their athletes' wages will be able to comfortably hire the best talent and, as a result, put together winning teams. Individual athletes would benefit from the NCAA allowing incentives for student-athletes, but most athletic teams, as well as the spirit of friendly competition that is associated with college athletics, would be harmed (Burnsed, 2014). 

If student-athletes were paid, many colleges and universities around the world would have to restrict or eliminate scholarships, and the remaining schools would distribute scholarships inequitably. In such cases, schools will be forced to cut other programs that do not generate enough revenue (ProCon, 2021). According to a Business Insider report, football generates about $20 million more than any other college sport at almost $30 million, with men's basketball coming in second at $7.9 million. Those are the two major revenuegenerating programs in D1, but it deprives competitors in other sports of the ability to gain as much as basketball and football players (Gaines, 2016).

Although athletes put forth a lot of effort in their chosen sport, it is unjust to charge them for it on top of the free tuition and room and board they receive. This will not only force the university or college to slash athletic programs, but it would also lift tuition and debt for non-athletic students, eventually preventing them from enrolling. Athletes should believe that they are now being rewarded for assisting them in completing their education. A typical athletic scholarship is worth anywhere between $20,000 and $50,000 per year. This includes free prescriptions and flights, as well as free supplies, unlimited access to their wellness and workout facilities, and the possibility of an audition for the major leagues. This is all provided for in full by the university and includes about all a student-athlete wants to get by during their four years there. This is all covered by the university, and it covers about all a student-athlete needs to get by during their four years there (Dirlam, 2013).

Paid college athletes would imply that the key or most well-known players would receive a large sum of money, while anyone else who isn't as well-known or just another athlete would receive a small sum. Equalization comes into play because if only a group of athletes were paid, it would inevitably jeopardize their ability to share the funds fairly based on the scholarship that they were offered. Again, many people believe that college athletes should be compensated, but this does not alleviate stress; rather, it exacerbates it. Athletes from some sports distance themselves from the student body, giving the impression that they aren't actual students but rather university employees. The amount of burden this would place on people to be able to maintain good work on both sides is a reason why paying them would be a bad idea (Demby, 2018)

Based on the information presented above, while it might seem that college athletes should be compensated, it is possibly best to side with them not being compensated. While scholarships and financial aid are forms of compensation for college athletes, the current college athletics system places a lot of pressure on college athletes to behave like professional athletes despite the fact that they are not compensated. Though college athletes are not currently compensated, a salary is not the only way to pay them for playing. People must understand the consequences of paying college players to ensure that paying athletes does not do more harm than good and does not worsen the college sports system. Colleges already cover a large portion of the expense of a student athlete's attendance at college. They receive free dorming, free equipment, free use of services, and a variety of other benefits that may or may not be specified. This saves them a huge amount of money that they would otherwise have to pay back. It is known that athletes work hard to balance their sports and academics, but paying them to compete and providing them with scholarships can cause issues with the NCAA and the schools that the athletes currently attend.

The process of writing this research paper provided me with a wealth of factual information that validated both sides. To some extent, paying student athletes may increase competitiveness in college sports and could potentially help universities and the NCAA, but I believe that this will seriously harm the NCAA system, including the raising of tuition costs for colleges in order to maintain the constant revenue that they need to function. Paying college athletes will only confuse matters more for divisions 2 and 3, as they do not have access to the same opportunities and athletic scholarships as division 1. Based on this scenario, not paying anybody would simply avoid the major dispute that will arise if student athletes are paid through the NCAA. Though this decision has not yet been decided, my position on college athletes not being compensated will remain unchanged.

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