Should Colleges Pay for Athletes’ Play?

By Jarrod Cochran and Jonathan Perelman

For many years, the NCAA has been under pressure to let students athletes be paid by their respective colleges. The colleges make money off of the athletes, why wouldn’t they get paid? There are valid arguments on both sides of the coin, here’s why collegiate athletes should get paid and why they shouldn’t.

Why they should get paid:

The reasoning for why athletes should get paid is pretty simple: the college is making money off of the athletes, therefore, the athletes should be paid. If you go to any NCAA Division I and many Division II schools and took away the student athletes that go there, the school would make zero money off sports.

Sure, the athletes get “paid” in scholarships, but schools make way more money off players than just $30,000 a year. At Michigan, Jim Harbaugh is the most expensive college football coach in the nation. He earns $9 million a year. You know why he makes that much? Because he went out, found the best players and they went to Michigan. In turn, this brings in fans to watch the games, jersey sales, television deals, more students to the school, etc. Without the athletes, not only is Jim Harbaugh worthless, the school makes hundreds of millions of dollars less than it does with athletes – and that’s just one sport.

In state tuition for Michigan is $28,000 while out of state is around $60,000. Even if all 100 athletes were out of state, it would come to 100 athletes getting paid $6,000,000 a year to make what Michigan football makes – an article in 2014 claimed it made $82 million. Based on those numbers, is Jim Harbaugh worth that much? Yes. Are the athletes worth that much? They are worth much more.

Not only are they worth much more, but they need more than just tuition paid for. They need food, clothes, gas and other essentials. Tuition doesn’t give them extra spending money.

It doesn’t even need to be that much. They will make more if they get to the next level, but just to give them essentials and a little bit more to prove their actual worth.

These athletes that are making colleges millions of dollars need to make more than just tuition.

If nothing else, letting them get paid would help in bringing back NCAA Football for video games.

Why they shouldn’t get paid: 

The debate of whether NCAA student athletes should be paid or not has increased in recent years. We have witnessed the chaos surrounding Johnny “Football” Manziel and that has intensified the reasoning that college athletes should be paid.

I am not supportive of that. It might be cliche to say, but a full scholarship is a reward that should not be taken for granted. Too many athletes put all of their marbles into the hope of playing professional ball that they never take their education seriously and when they finish school or don’t make it in the pro’s life can be daunting for them. The athletes that utilize their free college and pursue a career path outside of playing professionally tend to have no problems with no pay in college.
There’s also a conflict of which sports receive the pay or “allowance.” NCAA D1 football teams usually have around 80 or so scholarships to hand out, so almost every player is receiving a free four years of college, excluding the walk-on players. Graduating debt free these days is just as valuable as anything. The football teams tend to make the most money for the school so it would be hard to equal the value of paying athletes that play a sport that does not receive the national attention deserving of getting paid.

However, I do have a problem with the NCAA using players’ names and fame to profit. If the school or league wants to use, for example, Johnny Manziel to sell autographs and items with his name on it, then he should be allowed to earn a percentage off of that. If the NCAA or school does not want to pay its players it should not be selling or promoting anything with their respective names on it.

College football is a touchy subject because we have seen the effects of what football can do to their health and these players are putting their bodies and brains on the line during every game for no pay. I still stand by not paying players and not taking a full scholarship for granted but maybe college football players should receive some sort of insurance if a serious head injury occurs and they are not able to carry on a different career path.

Overall, I believe that graduating debt free is an honor and athletes should recognize that they are there for an education as well and if they take that seriously it will pay off in the future. But the NCAA and schools should not be profiting off of players’ fame without giving them some sort of percentage of the profits.

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