Should College Athletes Be Paid?




College athletics have gained immense popularity among Americans over the past few decades. This has resulted into increased revenues for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the participating colleges which has fuelled the debate of whether college athletes should be compensated beyond their athletic scholarships. This paper will attempt to answer the question as to whether college athletes should be paid by exploring the reasons for and against the payment of college athletes.


Reasons why college students should be paid


Athletes form the basic unit of intercollegiate sports. Despite the success of NCAA tournaments, athletes do not receive any monetary compensation. The main reasons fronted by the NCAA for lack of payment are that it wants to maintain its amateur status and that payment would compromise the integrity of intercollegiate athletics. It has increased its profits through the sale of merchandise, television rights and licenses for video games. Athletes play an active role in the promotion of these activities but do not benefit from the profits that are generated. This can be viewed as exploitation and is unethical.


Other students on scholarships are paid when their offer their services to their schools and the same should apply for athletes. This is because athletes offer more to their colleges than other students to the extent where sports have become the foundation of some universities. In this regard, universities like Alabama and Indiana are appreciated more due to their prowess in football and basketball respectively instead of their academic excellence.


Reasons why college athletes should not be paid


Paying athletes would undermine the primary role of universities which is to offer education. The lifetime skills and education that athletes receive while in college cannot be equated to the amount they would receive were they to be paid.


Athletes are also aware of the contractual agreements with the universities when signing scholarship papers. The university caters for their upkeep and gives them an opportunity to play their preferred sport at a higher level as well as earn a degree. Monetary compensation is not included in the agreements and should not be a matter of contention during the student’s tenure in university.




The growth in intercollegiate athletics has resulted into enormous revenues for colleges and NCAA and also attractive payment packages for coaches. College athletes deserve a share of the money that they help to generate.

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