Payment of College Athletes Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1387 Words
Date:  2022-11-06

The question on whether college athletes should be paid is perhaps one of the most debated issues in the sports industry all across North America. Athletes from North American institutions are regulated by a non-profit organization known as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). It also has the role of coordinating the athletic programs of numerous higher education institutions in Canada and the United States and aids approximately more than 400,000 college students with their tuition fees. College sport is a billion dollar enterprise which is built off the backs of student-athletes who receive no compensation whatsoever for the work that they do.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The role of being a student-athlete is a fulltime job in itself, and the students have to juggle between their classwork and the court and film sessions. They put their bodies at risk at each of the games they play and yet they do not receive any compensation that would allow them to comfortably take care of themselves in the event of an accident (Ontiveros, 2015). Most of the games played are money-spinning affairs where everyone benefits but the players themselves. Is this youth sports or child abuse? (Yankah, 2015) If any of the players were seriously injured, then there is the possibility that their scholarships would be revoked despite the medical bills that were piling up. They are only valuable as their capacity to carry a ball and raise the scores. Merely giving them college scholarships is not enough when they bring to the table up to ten times more of what they receive as tuition fees.

The student-athletes rake in a lot of money for the NCAA. The organization argues that they could not pay student-athletes simply because paying the athletes would make them be classified as employees and that would be followed by certain restrictions that would interfere with their academic life. Some of the athletes come from families that have blue collar jobs and sometimes it is hard for them to survive on the little that they get from their families. Some of them might even go hungry sometimes because of lack of enough funds, but they still have to show up at practice and give a stellar performance on the field or track (Cook, 2018). They are also prohibited from partaking in jobs other than the ones they got their college scholarship for which further impounds their already dire situation. They have no way of alleviating their financial woes while their bosses at the National Collegiate Athletes Association are at their lavish mansions and apartments enjoying the sweat of these poor student-athletes.

The issue of who would be in charge of paying the athletes has also prevented this discussion from progressing. Their excuse is that there is an expected difficulty in determining who will be in charge of paying the athletes; is it the NCAA or the students' colleges, the frequency of the payment and whether or not there would be a salary cap (Boninger, 2018). None of these are valid excuses. If the National Basketball Association (NBA) among other bodies can figure out how to pay their players, how difficult could it be for the NCAA or the colleges to replicate the same? However, only a few of the intercollegiate sports make money. The men's college basketball and football are the most profitable. So the issue here is, should basketball and football players be paid and other athletes left hanging?

There is big money involved in sports, and this can be attributed to the passion the athletes show on the field and the high-quality entertainment they give their fans. Many people argue that paying college athletes would lead to them neglecting their studies because they would feel that there is no need for them to study since they are already earning much more than they would if they finished their studies and later got jobs. Even if this would be the case, there should be measures put in place to ensure that the athletes do not lose sight of the primary reason for them being in college and anyone with poor academic records should be suspended from the teams until they get their grades back up (Carlson, 2016). In reality, however, poor investments and lavish spending habits would make the athletes go broke before they even have a substantial financial footing. To combat this problem, the athletes should be given a sound financial education. Otherwise, they would not know how to handle that much money (Cook, 2018). Giving the athletes a small portion of the profits made would hurt nobody. After all, the NCAA rakes a lot of profit during the gaming seasons.

College athletes should be paid so that a culture of financial awareness is instilled in them. An ESPN documentary done some years ago showed the fiscal trouble of professional athletes with up to 70% of them declaring bankruptcy within four years or so. They mostly blame it on poor investments and unethical financial advisors for their economic woes. If colleges were to give remunerations to the athletes, then they would learn how to manage their finances and build their foundation on financial literacy at a very early age whether or not they end up being professional athletes (Hoffman, 2015).

On the other hand, if the athletes do get paid for the work done, the difference would be marginal. If salaries were to replace the yearly scholarships that they receive, the difference would only be a few hundred dollars more yearly than a scholarship. Their scholarship includes books, tuition, room, and board, while in contrast, their salary would have to undergo deductions from state and federal income taxes.

The payment of college athletes is disputed because they already receive compensation in the form of scholarships even though not all of them are on scholarship. In addition to their scholarships, they also earn minimum wage to help cover their basic and educational needs. Students who are not athletes and whose parents cannot include for their full tuition and board fees among other obligations do not share the same privilege (Noll,2018). They leave school with a massive student loan debt, and some are unable to pay off their debts.

Giving remuneration to college athletes diminishes the worth and purity of the game. A majority of college sports fans are fans because they feel that the players have more passion for the game than the professional athletes since the professionals feel as if they are at the highest level of their career (Horton, 2015). Paying the student-athletes would make them less inclined to want to work harder to make it to the next level.


In conclusion, no matter anyone's opinion of whether or not these athletes should be paid, there is entirely no doubt they work hard.


Cook, J. (2018). The Issue of Compensation: Should NCAA Athletes be Compensated Above Their Scholarships.

Sanderson, A. R., & Siegfried, J. J. (2015). The case for paying college athletes. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 29(1), 115-38.

Ontiveros, M. L. (2015). NCAA Athletes, Unpaid Interns, and the S-Word: Exploring the Rhetorical Impact of the Language of Slavery. Mich. St. L. Rev., 1657.

Yankah, E. N. (2015). Why NCAA athletes shouldn't be paid. The New Yorker.

Berri, D. J. (2015). Paying NCAA Athletes. Marq. Sports L. Rev., 26, 479.

Hoffman, P. (2015). Dr. Renate Thimester Macroeconomics 17 April 2015 Paid College Athlete: Friend or Foe. Macroeconomics.

Boninger, N. (2018). Antitrust and the NCAA: Sexual Equality in Collegiate Athletics as a Procompetitive Justification for NCAA Compensation Restrictions. UCLA L. Rev., 65, 754.

Carlson, E. (2016). Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Why the NCAA Should Lose Its Tax-Exempt Status If Scholarship Athletes Are Considered Employees of Their Universities. Syracuse L. Rev., 66, 157.


Steckler, A. (2015). Time to Pay College Athletes: Why the O'Bannon Decision Makes Pay-for-Play Ripe for Mediation. Cardozo J. Conflict Resol., 17, 1071.

Sheetz, A. C. (2015). Student-Athletes vs. NCAA: Preserving Amateurism in College Sports Amidst the Fight for Player Compensation. Brook. L. Rev., 81, 865.

Bush, J. (2017). Student or Professional Athlete-Tax Implications in the United States if College Athletes Were to be Classified as Paid Employees. Labor Law Journal, 68(1), 58.

Jung, W. (2015). The Financial Implications of Paying College Athletes.

Davison, J. (2015). Throwing the Flag on Pay-for-Play: The O'Bannon Ruling and the Future of Paid Student-Athletes. Wash. JL Tech. & Arts, 11, 155.

Horton, T. J., DeGroot, D., & Custis, T. (2015). Addressing the Current Crisis in NCAA Intercollegiate Athletics: Where Is Congress. Marq. Sports L. Rev., 26, 363.

Cite this page

Payment of College Athletes Essay Example. (2022, Nov 06). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism