For the past decade there has been a constant argument on whether college athletes should be paid by the National College Athletic Association (NCAA). The NCAA is a college program that gives athletes a chance to play sports in college. There have been many problems regarding money between the board of the NCAA and college athletes. Many college athletes have filed lawsuits against the NCAA hoping to get money for the revenue they bring in.
In a letter by the NCAA board they wrote to the governor of Kentucky, “It would erase the critical distinction between college and professional athletics.” The NCAA’s reason for not paying the athletes is that they are not yet professionals. The NCAA should not pay college athletes salaries because they are not yet professionals, and they receive other compensation such as scholarships.
There is a fine line between being a college athlete, and being a professional athlete. Dave Anderson wrote in his article, “Top Reasons College Athletes Should Not Be Paid,” “College is a time to learn, and whether a student wants to be an accountant or a professional athlete, they are not a professional when still in school” (Anderson). Anderson explains that no college student is a professional, and college is primarily for education therefor no student should be paid by the college. College is a place of study “meant to further education for a future career,” not to be paid like a professional would be at their place of work (Jones). Jones contrast college to a work setting to draw the distinction between the amateurism of college and the professionalism of a legitimate work place.
Some people may say these students are focused on making a career out of their sport, however playing a sport in college is a privilege, not a priority. Statistics given by the NCAA showed that of the “75,000 college football players, only 1.6 percent of them went on to play professionally after college.” The reality of is that most college athletes will not make it to the pros, or even worse may obtain an injury that ceases them from playing. Paying players will take their focus away from their education and bring it to athletics. It is more likely for a student to get a degree than they are to play professionally. In the short run it may be a great idea to pay the student athletes, but for the athletes that only focused on athletics and don’t make it professionally, they may find it hard to get a degree.
It is common knowledge that after a student graduates college, they are flooded with student loans they have to worry about paying off. College athletes are lucky enough to get scholarships for the sports they play and also receive educational scholarships. Jeffrey Dorfman states in “Pay College Athletes?” that student athletes receive compensation in the form of scholarships that “pay for their education, food, and living expenses” this is enough to say that the average student athlete does get paid. Dorfman highlights that college athletes are actually paid, even though most people say they are not. The average athletic scholarship is around $8,500, and the average public university for state residents is around $10,000. This means that the average college athlete could virtually be paying around $1,500 per year, compared to the ordinary student paying the full amount. While most students are left with extreme student loan debts, some athletes have the luxury of having little to no debt after college.
In contrast to scholarships, others may say the revenue brought in by the athletes should be given to them as payment. Michael Wilbon (College Athletes Deserve to be Paid) suggests that March Madness, a NCAA division 1 basketball tournament, has made around $11 billion dollars since 2011, and the players that participated gained no incentive from it. Despite the fact that this is an extraordinary amount of money, not all players are equally adored so some players would have to be paid more which may cause problems for players who believe they should be getting paid more than another player.
In essence, college athletes should not be paid due to the other compensation that they receive and the lack of professionalism in what they do. Athletes have benefits that most college students don’t have. College is a place to get an education and obtain a degree, not a place to collect income. Keeping salaries out of college sports maintains the balance between athletics and education.