Owen Klein | October 11th, 2018
The most valuable college football programs in the United States are Oklahoma, Texas, and Ohio State. The programs are worth $1 Billion, $1.2 Billion, and $1.5 Billion, respectively (247 Sports). These numbers aren’t surprising, considering the level of national attention the sport receives. What is surprising is the fact that the players, who generate the revenue, don’t receive a single penny.
For quite a while, people have argued whether college athletes should be paid. While both sides have many valid and compelling arguments, one side outweighs the other. Critics of the idea argue that many college athletes receive athletic scholarships that include a free education, superb healthcare, equipment, and more. However, the number of athletes receiving these benefits is almost nothing in comparison to the number of college athletes.
The majority of college athletes dedicate their entire lives to the sport they are playing. Unfortunately, the percentage of college athletes that make it professionally is very low. For example, 1.6% of all NFL draft-eligible NCAA football players are on an NFL roster come the beginning of the season (NCAA). At the college level, many athletes focus on athletics more than education, thinking that their skills in their sport will financially support them. But if these athletes fail to make it pro, they lack a degree. On the other hand, the athletic director, television providers, coaches, journalists, and others all benefit from that athlete’s collegiate career.
Moving on, another benefit to paying college athletes is that it might keep them in school longer. Sometimes the decision to leave college and attempt to go pro is purely financial as many players are lured to the potential money that can be made at the next level. If students stayed in school, while being financially stable, they could develop their athletic craft while pursuing a degree as a possible backup option.
A final reason that college athletes should be paid is because athletics, especially football, can take tolls on a player’s body. American football is a physically demanding sport, which requires players to constantly be in tip-top shape to enhance their performance on the field. Essentially, college athletes sacrifice their bodies on a daily basis and put themselves in danger each and every second they are on the field, all without pay. This is so lopsided that one must begin to question the humanity of the NCAA (which has already had its fair share of controversies).
All in all, there aren’t any valid arguments, in my opinion, as to why college athletes shouldn’t be paid. The specific details, of course, would have to be discussed, but the positives ultimately outweigh the negatives, and as a whole, there would be a universal benefit from the payment of these hard-working athletes.