Should College Athletes Be Paid?

Carston Christensen

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The College Football National Championship just took place last night and with it came millions of dollars in advertisements, endorsements, commercials, tickets, merchandise and so much more. However not a single player on either team participating received a single cent for their hard work, performance, and dedication to their football organization “at least, not legally that is”.

Now the argument would have you say that they are receiving a free education and that is more than generous. Which is false because only a small portion of the members of the team are awarded full scholarships. The rest are left to provide for their own source of payment for schooling. With their lives consumed with football, leaving little time to find a job in order to pay for their schooling which sets the student athlete in debt. In fact, the sport probably consumes more time than an actual job would and yet they still receive no payment.

So, I return to the question should collegiate athletes be paid? I used to be completely against the notion of college athletes being paid. Thinking that they should just be grateful to have the opportunity to receive an education and play a sport they love in front of thousands of adoring fans. And in some ways, I believe this is still true, but after watching that Championship Game, seeing how much money it brought in, and knowing that none of that money goes to the people who set the stage for all that money to be accumulated.

I just can’t help to feel like it’s wrong, that those young men that worked vigorously for days on end sacrificing their mind, body, and soul to a game they desperately love and not receive any of the profit that came from their hard work. That the wealthy businessmen take advantage of their hard work to make themselves richer.

Even back a few years ago when madden made an NCAA version, the media was promoting those college athletes on a video game and making large amounts of money that the athletes weren’t able to receive so they cut that version of the game. People are always buying merchandise from college athletic programs, but those athletic programs wouldn’t be anything without the athletes in the program.

These athletes come right out of high school still young, naïve, and excited to live out their dream of playing collegiate sports. Then wealthy executives and business owners take advantage of that and make money off them. It’s been a discussion for a while now and not much has changed, but these players are just trying to take care of themselves and their families. I think in the near future in some way, shape or form, college athletes will begin to receive payment for their performance on the field. Obviously not as much as the Professional Players, but I believe they deserve a small portion for their contribution to the game.