There is great debate over whether or not college athletes are entitled to stipends or really any pay at all. Even with free tuition, room and board, many people believe that college athletes should also be entitled to extra money on top of that. Although strong evidence is present in support of each side, there are countless reasons that are against paying college athletes that I believe outweigh the reasons in support of receiving stipends. Over time a consensus has formed that some college sports are businesses generating hundreds of millions of dollars for a few dozen schools, primarily from television contracts. However other than the big time football and basketball programs, for the majority of college teams it isn’t a business. Often during this argument discussion revolves around top programs in sports like basketball and football, but this completely disregards small to medium time athletics whose primary focus is the athletes themselves. If athletes at these big schools were to be given a part of the money they generate, this would leave womens sports (who generally don’t generate profit) left without a dime. Also, what about college sports that are not multi-million dollar businesses? It wouldn’t be very fair to only compensate the top players and leave the lower athletes who are working just as hard with nothing. According to the NCAA only 1.6% of college football players actually make it to the NFL. Therefore if these elite athletes receive stipends it would only be fair that the lower tiered athletes also are paid a sum. For these smaller programs and even the big programs money like this isn’t exactly accessible.   It would be a mistake to just to assume that all college football programs are profitable businesses. As it is, most Division 1 programs already operate in the red, even without paying stipends that will run into seven figures. “The NCAA reported that only 20 Football Bowl Subdivision programs turned a profit in 2013(Paying)”. Keep in mind that a Football Bowl Subdivision program is a fancy word for big-time programs. So even in maybe the most televised and popular college sport, the majority of top level football programs cannot even generate a profit. How can universities be expected to give lump sums to each of their student-athletes when they are losing money through the program. Most of the larger sports programs can afford this but, “The rest of us are all being subsidized by our universities,” said Boston College athletic director Brad Bates, whose institution was the only Power 5 member to vote against autonomy. After the universities have taken their cut, there really isn’t money available to be given to the athletes. Also, with advantages in funding and recruiting the big programs will continue to generate the most revenue and collect television deals while the majority of colleges are left to fend for themselves. The fact of the matter is that many Division I schools are not, and will likely never be competitive with the few dozen schools that generate significant revenue from football and men’s basketball. Other schools that don’t have amazing sports teams are lacking that luxury of being able to have money to pay a stipend. In most cases, if the athletes were being paid, most likely everyone’s tuition would rise and the gap between average students and athletes would only continue to widen.On of the most common and almost cliche argument made against paying college athletes is that they are amateurs, but I believe this an overlooked point. To get this straight, students are not professional athletes who are paid salaries and bonuses for a career in sports. They are students receiving access to a college education through their participation in sports, for which they earn scholarships. This allows expenses like tuition, room, board, and other costs to be free. Collegiate sports is not a career or profession. It is rather a students’ way of getting to a higher education and possibly obtaining a degree. In addition to a free education, these students are also treated like stars on campus and surely they reap the benefits of basically a free degree. There is no question as to what the scholarship money is going towards. Cash or a salary could be spent on wants rather than necessities, potentially leading the athletes into a debt they would not have with the benefit of a scholarship. As recently as two years ago college athletes, past and present, have battled with the NCAA in court for the right to pay. Almost all of their attempts have come up short and during the most recent case O’Bannon vs NCAA the supreme court denied to even hear the case. One of the main reasons continually presented in these cases is the concept of “Pay-To-Play” becoming an influence if college athletes are awarded stipends. College sports recruiting would essentially turn into a game of who can bid the highest. Since many of these students don’t come from wealthy backgrounds they’d probably choose a school that can pay them more, over a school that can provide a better education or teaching. By doing this athletes would be even more deprived of a decent education. Also if college athletes are to be paid and recruited in this manner, they won’t have the same freedoms as regular students and shouldn’t even be considered students anymore. Rather they will become essentially employees of the university and will fall under harsher restrictions and policies regarding things such as social media use and others. In accordance with the ruling made by the panel of the Ninth Circuit court, “The N.C.A.A. is allowed to use amateurism as a justification in antitrust cases, and the N.C.A.A. is allowed to define amateurism as restricting any payments to the cost of attending(Court)”. College athletes are already being paid with an athletic scholarship that is worth between $20-$50,000 per year. This does not even begin to factor in the medical and travel expenses, free gear, top-notch coaching, unlimited use of elite athletic facilities and a national stage. I’m just not sure it’s necessary for more money to be added onto that. Athletes coming out of high school always have the option of going overseas to play their sport but why is it that the majority choose the college route instead? Exposure. It has been shown that the best way to reach the professionals of any sport is through college athletics. Going to a couple of classes everyday is the trade off for reaping the benefits of constant “media exposure, and coaching and training provided by the universities…if an athlete is talented enough, professional scouts will draft them whenever they become eligible(There’s)”.These athletes are being gifted an opportunity to go out on a bigger stage then they’ve ever been on and even if they dont go pro, leaving a four-year college with a degree will help former players earn more money than those who only have a high school diploma. Furthermore, according to US News, Those holding bachelor’s degrees earn about $2.27 million over their lifetime, while those with only a high school diploma earn only $1.30 million lifetime(How)”.Without college sports many of these athletes would never have the chance to earn a four-year degree which is often integral to financial success later in life. Lets say these athletes were to be given money, there is no saying what they would actually do with it. These kids are still kids and they don’t know how to manage their money, and there also wouldn’t be anyone there to guide their financial decisions. Fox Sports popular sports analyst Colin Cowherd states, “I don’t think paying all college athletes is great; not every college is loaded, and most 19-year-olds (are) gonna spend it—and let’s be honest, they’re gonna spend it on weed and kicks!” Although he uses an extreme example of weed, the point he made is true because a good amount of these athletes have never had large amounts of spending cash. But financial irresponsibility isn’t the only reason money should be left out of college athletics. If players are to be compensated it will surely be unfair and there could very well be repercussions. How do you decide how much the  star Quarterback is worth compared to the linemen that protect him? This just creates an even bigger problem between players due to one athlete potentially receiving more money from the school. Furthermore the addition of pay into college sports will result in a worser product for the fans and television. Athletes would take on a new “professional” mindset in which there first and only motive would be getting paid. In college sports you can actually see the ferocity and the hunger in each game/match because they play for pride and passion. Without that hunger the sport will take a major hit and it just won’t be the same. Furthermore as the dedication and the output begins to fade out, so will the influx of money being poured into college athletics. This results in even less attention being payed and the NCAA would have even less money than it has now to possibly give out to players. Although the NCAA is expected to rake in $757 million through TV and marketing rights fees, championship revenue and other services, the NCAA says “96 percent of its annual revenue is returned to its member schools either in direct payments or in programs and services(Following)”. So even in its current state the NCAA doesn’t actually have any money to really give back to its athletes seeing that most of it goes back into the schools and their academics. It can clearly be seen in professional sports that there’s been a shift in motive. Today’s world of sports revolves all around money. In professional sports, the goal of winning a championship or awards has been replaced with the determination to sign a massive contract and acquire as much money as possible. In college athletics the players don’t focus on the monetary aspect. Instead, they focus on the experience and the feeling of being a part of a team with a goal. They learn other valuable lessons such as being humble in winning and being gracious in losing. Most of all, they play for the love of the game and the joy that comes with it. It seems that paying these amateur athletes would only cause even more problems for sports at the collegiate level. With no pay scale and college athletes already reaping the benefits of all the exposure to the public it doesn’t seem very sensible to add on a stipend to their already expensive scholarships. Those who argue that the NCAA is exploiting these players are surely mistaken because the NCAA puts almost all of the money it makes back into the schools and programs that I governs over. In turn for free tuition, room and board, books, and media attention, all that is required of these athletes is to follow the rules of the NCAA which are made in the best interests of the student athletes. Getting a scholarship to a top college is a life changing event, and it puts even the athletes who aren’t good enough to go pro, on a great track for the rest of their lives. College is a place help jumpstart their adult lives and adding in money will only cause even more problems.


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