Play without pay: NCAA athletes deserve monetary compensation

Daniel Greilsheimer, Staff Writer

Since a coaching scandal took the country by storm leading to federal prosecution, the question of whether college athletes should be paid has dominated college campuses. In 2017, the news broke that the FBI would be levying charges against ten individuals, including four assistant coaches, at Division 1 schools. Eight of the ten were charged for corruption and bribery under a federal grand jury. California took a step in the right direction in Sept. by passing a law that will allow players to hire agents and create endorsement deals beginning in 2023. This law put pressure on the NCAA and the federal government to choose between paying athletes or barring certain universities from participating in collegiate athletics. Finally, the pressure mounted to a point where the NCAA cleared the way for college athletes to profit from agencies, endorsement deals, their name, and their image.

The agreement made by the NCAA governors ensured that student-athletes would be able to be paid the same way as any other athlete. This statement agreed to in Dec. is planned to go into effect in January 2021. These are all steps in the right direction, as college athletes should and deserve to be paid. They put in extremely hard work balancing their schedules between the demands of school and sports.

“They should be paid because athletes competing in D1 schools have sports take over their entire college experience and are forced to make their schedule around their sport,” said sophomore Rachel Nissan.

Most college athletes will not go on to professional sports, so it is important for them to have a head start financially, as all other students are encouraged to do the same. According to the New York Times, the college sports industry is worth $14 billion. The players, who are a central component to make this revenue, should be rewarded.

“March Madness is one of the most popular sporting events in the nation and every single player does not make a single penny, it all goes to the NCAA or the TV network, which is not fair at all. Last year the TV networks were making billions,” said sophomore Terry McGinty.

A common counter-argument is that athletes are already being rewarded by getting a scholarship to go to college for free.

“A college athlete is already rewarded by not having to pay for college and asking for pay in addition to free college is treating this too much like a job,” said sophomore Charlie Bosworth.

Bosworth’s points may be valid, but he forgets that being a college athlete is essentially the same as having a job. They train, practice, and work grueling schedules venturing hundreds of miles away. Essentially, they are professional athletes, except without pay. Some of these athletes come from low-income families, and as a result, they do not have the money to pay for certain necessities. A fixed paycheck for performance would solve these issues.

Imagine being a college student, already stressed out over the rigorous schedule of classes and assignments, and adding a full- time job as an athlete on top of that. While it is possible to balance school and sports, it is extremely difficult, and it is not fair that the athletes are not rewarded. These athletes pour their heart and soul into the athletic programs they are affiliated with. They train every day and play teams hundreds of miles away. On game days, they are under pressure to not only perform well on the court or field, but they must also make sure that their work is handled for the future. Although getting a scholarship is a huge gift, working as an athlete is a full-time job that deserves pay just as any other job would.

College athletes should definitely be paid and the new California law and NCAA statements will hopefully lead the college sports industry to make the right decision.