Athletes spend countless hours practicing and training outside of class, which gives them the right to certain benefits. But many athletes believe they deserve the right to be paid by the institution they represent, and this is where controversy presents itself.
Players have access to state-of-the art facilities, receive preferred housing and get special academic arrangements. In addition, they receive hundreds of dollars worth of apparel and equipment throughout the academic year.
Few of these benefits are granted to regular undergraduate students.
According to a survey of all college athletic programs in the country by ScholarshipStats.com, the average Elon University male athlete receives $19,993 and the average female athlete receives $20,695.
An average undergraduate student is given a scholarship of $11,740. How does being an athlete justify this enormous gap in scholarship money from the university? Is the time and effort of an undergraduate not worth as much as that of an athlete?
The argument many college athletes across the country make for getting paid is they bring in a tremendous amount of revenue and attention to the school they are competing for but don’t get a share. But an athlete bringing in revenue is not a sufficient reason to pay them.
Every student-athlete voluntarily chooses to go to an institution and should understand the time commitment necessary to compete at the varsity level.
If the expectations are too much for athletes, they could have easily gone somewhere else or enrolled in an institution as a non-athlete.
These athletes are treating the issue of compensation as if their activity is a job.
What happened to playing for the love of the game? Even if athletes were to get paid, there are several variables that could affect an athlete’s income.
Too many undetermined variables
While it is easy for college athletes to say they should be paid, the logistics behind paying them are difficult to establish.
Paying students involved in athletics also extends beyond the athletes themselves. Many athletic teams have student managers that do not compete in games. If players will get paid, so should student managers.
Who’s to say that non-athletes aren’t burdened with the same problem athletes find themselves in? Extracurricular activities like being a club, organizations or student governments can be just as time consuming as athletics.
Since other students participating in extracurricular activities don’t get paid, athletes shouldn’t get paid.
Many find college sport entertaining because of the passion and determination athletes have to stand out to better their stock for a professional career.
Large schools would dominate
If universities pay college athletes, then all the power in recruitment goes to the larger institutions that bring in the most revenue.
These schools will have the power to buy the best players. According to a study by USA Today in 2013, only 10 percent of NCAA Division I athletic programs would generate enough revenue to cover expenses, let alone paying athletes.
The key is these athletes are student-athletes and are no different than any other undergraduate. They do not deserve special treatment.
While it is easy to understand why athletes feel they deserve they are entitled to be paid, there are too many confounding factors that arise when considering how to implement their demands. There is too much uncertainty about how to distribute wealth in a fair, equitable way.