Should college athletes get paid?

By Elad De Piccioto
 Adam Bettcher / Stringer
CBS will pay over a-billion-dollars-a-year for broadcasting the NCAA` March Madness tournament up until 2023, and not much of that arrives at the hands of the broadcast’s stars themselves (at least not directly).  There is an ongoing gashing conversation about whether college athletes should be paid or not. The question arises primarily regarding football and basketball student-athletes, since they bring in most of the money. Here are three arguments for and three arguments against it:


Three Reasons why they should get paid:

The difficulty to implement is no excuse
An important argument coming from those who oppose paying college athletes is the expected difficulty to implement such a far reaching move. Questions like who will pay for students (NCAA or colleges), how often will they get pay, and will there be a salary cap, are just part of the difficulties expected. The main question regards the equitable application of paying college athletes, namely who will get paid, and who wouldn’t.
Since the debate was sparked over the NCAA income from broadcasting, the answer is simple: the athletes who bring in the big money, namely, men’s basketball and football players, will get paid. Others won’t. They are the ones who provide a good time that people who are willing to pay for it, so they deserve to get paid. Baseball, soccer, lacrosse, and others, get nothing. That is capitalism, and that`s how it works in the USA. It might not be perfect, but it is better than how it is now.


Athletes risk their body and are exposed to permanent damage

One of the favorite things about college sports is the player`s enthusiasm. Their love and passion for the game is admirable, and make college sports what it is. But there is a bad side to it; many college athletes suffer serious injuries that sometimes end their career.

Setting aside the disturbing fact that a career-ending injury will stop their scholarship, those athletes put their bodies at risk of permanent damage, without being paid. Hurting your knee might leave you limping for the rest of your life. Suffering concussions can cause dementia and depression. Those athletes put their bodies on the line each training session, each game they play. It is only right to pay them for it.


It wouldn`t take away the purity and the magic in college sports

It`s common to think paying college athletes can detract from that purity of the game, and ruin that magic. But it won`t.

College sports fire up a different excitement for the fans, there`s no doubt about that. The passion we see on the court is attributed to the fact that there is no money involved.

But there is. The cat is out of the bag. Big money is involved and now that we all know it (including some players who feel used). the magic is gone, at least to some extent. The purity of that game vanished the second the NCAA signed that agreement with CBS. If we`re really concerned about the purity of the game, we should want athletes to be paid.


Three reasons why they should not get paid


The difference for college athletes is marginal in term of money

If salaries will replace scholarships in college sports, athletes won’t earn much more. In fact, an impressive 100,000$ year salary for college athlete will grant him a few hundred dollars more per year. 

A full athletic scholarship at an NCAA Division I university is about $65,000 a year. This includes tuition, room, board, and books (if you enroll at a college with high tuition). Since it’s a salary, not a scholarship, it will be subjected to federal and state income taxes. Out of the 100,000$ a year salary, a net of $65,100 will remain for the student. The difference is marginal.


Earning big money too soon can be harmful

People argue that paying collage athletes will help them to create a sense of financial awareness. Poor investments, trusting unethical financial advisors and lavish spending habits, are some of the main reasons professional athletes are getting broke after their retirement, according to ESPN documentary, “Broke”.

As always, there is another side to that coin. Due to their youth and recklessness, college athletes will be much more prone to make bad financial decisions, like trusting an unethical financial advisor. Do you really believe light-minded college student, who will be handed a huge amount of money, will act out of financial awareness?


Paying big money for college students miss the purpose of college

College is about preparing you for the real life. It supposed to give you the tools and abilities to make it after college. In that manner, college athletes are no different than other college students, who practice in hospitals, law firms or advertising agencies. They all work hard for no money, why should athletes be different?

A lot of kids today are impatience and suffer deeply from an inability to delay gratification. College can teach them a great life lesson; in real life, you have to work hard and wait for your chance. They need to acknowledge and be thankful for this lesson. Paying big money for those youngsters would be far from being the ideal preparation for life.


Bottom line:

Paying big money for college athletes can be harmful and miss the purpose of college, especially when the difference in term of money is marginal. On the other hand, not paying athletes who risk at getting injured every game is morally wrong.  If you had the NCAA ear, would you recommend changing the current practice?

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