Why Student Athletes Should Not Be Paid

Over the recent decades, Division I athletic programs have become more and more like businesses in which the job of the athletes, is to generate earnings for the university. And many people argue because college sports has such a large time commitment, that the athletes deserve some compensation for the revenue they provide. The college athletes are putting in a tremendous amount of time into their sport, causing it to be very difficult to get a paying job, but this commitment and practice is helping them prepare for their future, which is the entire purpose of attending these higher institutions. Since colleges put such valuable resources into these athletes through scholarships, a salary should not be expected.

A college is a place that provides a student the proper resources to prepare for the future, it is not there to be a source of income. The problem that has been uprooted is that the expectations have shifted, and people believe that playing an organized sport is a right, whereas it stands as a privilege. College athletes should not be paid because they are already recipients of scholarships, their main priority at a university is education, and using athletics as a source of income blurs the lines when considering how the compensation should be divided amongst the athletes especially when the establishment is facing deficits.

Colleges make strategic choices when giving college athletes scholarships, and make logical decisions for the recipients of these scholarships, in order to increase the overall budget. However, paying student athletes would thus decrease the sports’ budgets and the majority of the athletic expenditures for these Division I colleges would be towards compensation for those college athletes. About 14.4% to 28.8% of most colleges athletic department budgets go towards scholarships for the athletes, and it is estimated that between 34% to 36% of most athletic budgets would be needed for the compensation to the college athletes.

These statistics show that compensation for college athletes takes the majority of the athletic expenditures for the Division I colleges, leaving little room in the budget for more beneficial improvements for other sports, and the general student population at the colleges. The Football Championship Subdivision, has addressed that the spending for each individual athlete has increased by fifty percent within the years of 2005 and 2010, while there has only been a one percent increase in academic spending per student, which raised from twenty two percent to twenty three. This shows that in the past years colleges have been increasing the budgets of the athletic departments more so than that of the academic side. More resources are being poured into the athletes through scholarship, a payment that should be more than sufficient for an athlete when considering that costs of tuition, room and board, and a meal plan are all covered.

The NCAA also explains that the rate of athletes not completing college is much higher than students who are not a part of sports. Showing that athletes should not be paid because the college is already providing them with a substantial scholarship, especially since the average percentage of a college athletes dropping out of college within two years is 44.6%. It is through compensation of the athletes that the college would lose its credibility, due to the lack of positive outcome from the large investments into a great percentage of student athletes who do not even graduate from the higher establishment. A United States economist, Andrew Zimbalist, went so far as to explain his personal frustrations with the unfair advantage that athletes get when being accepted and recruited into college. This situation is explained as the valedictorian of his high school class getting accepted into Georgetown, where tuition is over $75,000 a year, and received no source of well deserved financial aid. However, there are plenty of athletes that go to this same prestigious school for little to no cost and do not have sufficient grades to even attend the establishment. Zimbalist them dives in further when using former NBA star Allen Iverson, a man who hated high school and barely even passed senior year, but got admitted Georgetown on full scholarship, but only stayed for one year. This leaves the college with no benefits in the investment into Iverson, and limiting the well deserving applicants into admittance into the school. The fear of the NCAA, is that the idea of paying college athletes undermines that university’s ideals towards the overall student population. It must also be considered that student athletes are not employees of the university, rather they are students first and athletes second.

College is a for a place of education and obtaining a degree. That is the primary purpose of college and one of the NCAA’s core standards is the “student athlete”. If a person wants be paid, then going pro is their best option, that is the reason for professional sports. In most countries in the world, school is about learning, and only about learning. France, for example, has nothing close to what we refer to as “high school sports”. Students play sports maybe once a week, always at a recreational level. They stress academics over anything else, something the American system can learn from. In high school and universities in the U.S., student-athletes frequently miss hours, if not days, of school in order to attend matches. The women’s Duke soccer team, for instance, missed three entire days of school time in order to play one conference match against Notre Dame. Was winning one match, not even a final, worth missing three days of university courses? What if that was multiplied by more than a dozen, considering all of the matches collegiate sports teams play during the season? According to the NCAA, students are only allowed to practice for twenty hours during the week, yet lots of students report practicing around thirty, sometimes even forty hours a week. With sports becoming a literal full-time job, where can school fit in without becoming overwhelming? People can’t go from school to sport to school to sport, they need time for recuperation. Being a collegiate athlete is one of the surest ways to see your degree, and grades, flush down the toilet. There is a reason why “student” in “student athlete” comes first.

There is only a minute number of college programs that turn over a large profit, but there are hundreds of schools nationwide, who take in substantial losses at the cost of supplying athletes a place to compete and receive an excellent education. The entire purpose of the NCAA, and other well regulated structure of amateur sports is to provide a place to play these sports, which is a facility that should not be taken for granted. A high number of colleges’ athletic departments operate at a financial loss, which means that they are losing more money than they make every year. At the University of Auburn, the team that won the national title in football, revealed that they had a $17 million deficit in 2014. there are about 460,000 NCAA athletes in America. If all of those athletes were to be paid $15,000, a little under minimum wage, for a 40 hour, 52 week year, $7.2 billion would have to be spent. If a college ended up paying their athletes, it would not be allowed to pay for certain students or sports. It would be unjust to have the football players receive a salary, when the swimming team does not. Each athlete would automatically claim that they have the same rigorous work ethic as another player, and whether or not that statement is true or false, it is not fair to only compensate certain athletes or teams. This also brings up the matter: what if the performance of the athletic program was very poor one year. This setback may lead to the loss of school donors, television contracts, and even loss of ticket sales. The athletic program would still be liable to pay the athletes, leading to an even larger deficit than there would be without the unreasonable compensation. With in this matter the federal Title IX law also must be seriously considered. This law specifically states that equal compensation is a requirements for male and female athletes.