Pay-for-Play in College?

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There is an an ongoing debate on whether or not college students should be paid to play their sport.

There are three categories that people find themselves in when this comes up. There’s people who argue that getting a free education is more than enough, others think they should receive some sort of compensation, but it is tough to draw a line. Some individuals think that they make their school so much, but receive so little in return.

There is a video on shaqfuradio, coming from the perspective that these athletes need to be paid. They mention how much time they put in, how much they make their university, and how an education is free, but a lot of them won’t graduate.

I do believe if you’re Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan or any big time football school, it is easy to make the argument those football players should be paid because they can make their school millions in just one night. But what about lower Division I schools who don’t make much at all with their football program? There was a study done by the NCAA, where they say; “Expenses exceeded generated revenue at all but 20 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision.”

So there are so many issues that come up. A lot of schools are losing money already, how can they afford to pay these kids on top of a free education? What about the “non-profit” sports that put in a lot of time to their craft like track and field, do they get anything? Do division II schools receive anything as well? Again, it is easy to make the argument for big-time football schools, and I think they are “exploited” a little bit, but drawing the line to who gets paid what or not at all would to stir up a lot havoc.

There is also the perspective of college athletes not getting paid, written by Kieran McCauley for the Daily Local News, which I do agree with. “Take a step back and look at the big picture. College is a place for people to obtain a degree and help jumpstart their “real world” career aspirations. Whether people want to capitalize on that opportunity or not is on them. However it is not a place for athletes to get paid to play sports, that’s why the professional level exists. Remember student comes first in student-athlete.”

There is also a salary cap idea written by Joe Nocera of the New York Times. “Every Division I men’s basketball and football team would have a salary cap, just as the pros do — except the amounts would be vastly lower. In basketball, the cap would be $650,000. In football, it would be $3 million. It is ludicrous to argue that the Power 5 programs cannot afford this; the combined $3.65 million is barely half the $7 million that Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh made this season. (I would also drop the number of scholarships in college football to 60, which is closer to the size of an N.F.L. team, from 85 in the top tier.)”

I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but again there’s schools losing money to start with who could not afford to pay that money. Also, if you drop 25 scholarships per school, that would mean thousands of kids would miss the opportunity to play a sport they’re good enough to play at a division I level, but since the NCAA would be a business, they’d miss out. This also doesn’t help any baseball, soccer, golfers, etc. who dedicate the hours it took them to make it there. It would be sad being a track star and walk around campus where you know football players who don’t even see the field are making money in college.

I am all for the effort these athletes put in, and then have the energy to receive good grades. I support hard-working guys getting paid, and I wouldn’t disagree with it. At the same time, I don’t know how realistic it would be for a majority of schools.

Related:

Top 10 Reasons College Athletes Should Be Paid

Jay Bilas’ reasons they should be paid

Don’t pay college athletes

Pay-for-Play answer