Should College Athletes Get Paid?

Should college athletes be getting paid? That’s a question that has been a topic of discussion for quite some time and has even influenced laws and regulations.

With college athletes’ busy schedules, hard work, and sacrifice, some believe that college athletes should be getting paid. Still, others believe that they should not be getting paid due to the fact that they are still college students and making money from sources outside of play.

Our editorial staff was asked a few questions about their personal opinion on this topic. College is oftentimes looked at as a developmental stage for athletes to advance and grow their skills before possibly having the chance to go professional. Therefore, the editors were asked if money was involved if that would affect the developmental stage. Their answers varied, some stating that it would affect the developmental stage, making things “very convoluted,” while others think money is already involved for athletes who have received scholarships.

They then were asked if athletes getting paid would affect the fairness of the game. They all agreed it would not affect the fairness of the game, although some editors went on to explain exceptions. These exceptions included some schools paying athletes and some not, difference in pay, and what is considered professional versus amateur. One editor said, “College athletes already don’t get paid because of the fact that they are not yet professional athletes. Paying them would blur the distinct boundary between the two.”

As mentioned, college athletes already don’t get paid due to the fact they are not professional athletes and still students who take classes and have their academic responsibilities. If athletes were to get paid, it raises the question of, “Should athletes that are getting Cs and Ds be getting paid at the same level of athletes who are receiving As and Bs?” With that being said, the editorial staff was asked if they think academics should impact an athletes level of pay.

While there were mixed answers, one editor commented, “Academics most definitely should impact their pay, but their ability to play, as well.”

Another editor brought up a good point: “Why not pay everyone that’s getting really good grades in class?”

Say college athletes do get paid, how would the level of pay be determined amongst each athlete?
Each editor shed a different light on this question. One editor said that it could potentially be determined by performance, amount of time played, and how much money the team creates for the University. A second editor mentioned it being based on the division of the school and possibly playing time, but not the performance of each player. A third editor shared that they believe it could be based on similar factors that determine a professional athlete’s pay.

Lastly, after considering all the questions they previously answered they were all individually asked if they think athletes should be paid or not. Their responses were as followed:

Editor One: “I don’t think they should be paid. That’s what brand deals and sponsorships are for at the college level. I’ve seen many athletes partner with big and small companies for brand deals where they either get products or money.”

Editor Two: “I do not think college athletes should be paid as a wage-based job. A lot of college athletes get scholarships and other financial benefits from their sports. However, I think athletes should have the right to their own name and brand. So, getting paid through sponsorships or merch with their name on it should be totally fine.”

Editor Three: “I don’t think college athletes should be paid at all, especially considering that many, if not all, of them are already being paid in scholarships. I have heard complaints that many college athletes lack time to have a job due to practices and academic work, but the non-athletes who are able to have a job most likely have their money going towards tuition. Any additional pay given to a college athlete would be ridiculous.”

Overall, it is clear that there are many factors to this debate, and there may not be an answer any time soon.