Should college athletes get paid?

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Jordan Helmbrecht

More stories from Jordan Helmbrecht

Zach Guikema
November 14, 2019
Sarah Tiggleman
November 14, 2019

An old controversial flame has caught fire in these recent months—should college athletes get paid?

The spark that really ignited this question was a statement by the state of California that claimed that these college players should, in fact, get paid. California was so confident in their opinion that they presented a new law regarding college sports.

This future California law states that college athletes will now be allowed to hire agents and, furthermore, be paid for endorsements and the use of their images or even their name. This bold decision led to a major breakout crisis within the NCAA with differing opinions leaving big questions.

The NCAA has always had regulations that ban this exact thing, hence why chaos erupted around the announcement. The California law is not supposed to be put into effect until 2023, but it was organized in a way where even though it violates the NCAA regulations, the organization could not punish them.

However, this controversy is nothing new. For years, there has been the debate over whether or not college athletes should get paid. There are several aspects to each side of the argument, copious reasons to back up each side. Yet, what once used to be just an ongoing argument now must be faced in reality due to California’s power move.

Many people who are for college athletes getting paid back up their opinion with two things. One, they bring up the point that is not these players getting paid, rather their coaches are getting millions. Second, they compare these college athletics to professional athletics who also get paid millions.

But, my question is are they not indirectly getting paid?

Think about it. Most college athletes head into college on full rides, meaning their committed college is paying for basically every ounce of college costs. Depending on the school, this can mean that these athletes are getting up to hundreds of thousands of dollars paid for them, as well as their education.

Furthermore, these big-time college athletes also travel quite often. And no, they do not pay to travel. This means that colleges are paying to take these athletes all around the country while the athletes just get to enjoy the ride. 

Overall, these college athletes are sent off to college without having to worry about money. There are hundreds of thousands of students around the country that have to worry about college costs, and being a committed college athlete takes away that worry. These colleges are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars that college athletes will never have to pay back.

In essence, paying college athletes defeats the entire purpose of college.”

The whole idea of college athletes getting paid also comes down to the core of college sports. College sports are so different compared to professional sports, and a great deal of that comes from the fact that they do not get paid. 

People enjoy watching college sports because they are unfiltered. The players don’t play for the money they earn, they play because they love what they are doing. The desire to win comes from a genuine drive, a pure want to win for the team you’re playing for, not a desire to win to get paid more money.

College is the time for these athletes to just play because they love what they are doing. If they decide to go pro, then they have all the years they want to get paid. If college athletes begin getting paid as the pros do, there will be little distinction that separates the pro leagues from the college leagues. 

Earning money so early could also harm these athletes. It can be dangerous to present a lot of money to young people, especially athletes; it tarnishes their authenticity. If you look at a large group of paid professional players, you can find an abundance that were ruined by their money. If we give these young athletes money before they are ready, they could lose the pure players that they are.

Most importantly, paying college athletes takes away the whole purpose of college. While college athletes do have different experiences than other students, their years at school still serve as this preparation phase of life.

If they were to get paid, these athletes could miss this whole section of life where they find out who they will be in the world. They could miss the important lessons that college teaches, no matter who you are. College is many students’ first look at the real world, at real life. It is where they learn to work for the things they want to succeed at. If these young athletes were to get paid, they could entirely miss out on this essential message. In essence, paying college athletes defeats the entire purpose of college.

College sports are unique because the players do not get paid—it’s a key reason why people love watching these young athletes compete. Many of them will have the opportunity to get paid for playing later on in their lives, but despite conflicting opinions, paying them while they play college sports is completely unnecessary and could ruin what makes college sports the special athletics that they are.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email