Why College Student-Athletes Getting Paid? - Argumentative Essay

Published: 2021-08-02
1833 words
7 pages
16 min to read
Vanderbilt University
Type of paper: 
Argumentative essay
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

College athletics is a well-endowed business. In some of the states, college sports officials get paid millions yearly due to their contribution to every sport. According to reports, National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) generated a total of $9.15 billion in revenues in 2015 alone. College sport has thus moved from being just a sport to being a business. The analysis looks at the case of college student-athletes getting paid and their contribution to the economy and further analyses the positive and the negative aspects of college athletes getting paid.

Background Information

The idea of pay for play in college athletics dates back to what was considered as the first competition between colleges (Oriard, 2012). The competition was between Yale University and Harvard University. The competition was enjoyed by many fans who were willing to make payments just to enjoy watching the matches. Even though the matches were enjoyed, they were brutal and led to fatalities. It thus became a debate of compensation to the athletes since it is not only a risk but also a task they dedicate to doing. The debate on paying student-athletes is thus traced to early 1900's to mid-1900's where some colleges considered using athletes who were not enrolled in colleges as students (Oriard, 2012). The colleges thus paid them to play so that they could rank higher in the NCAA tournaments.


The debate on paying college athletes has been in motion for many years. College athletics is a very involving and can be considered as a full-time job. Students have to dedicate their time for training, film sessions, events and their daily classes. Students thus end up missing most of their classes since the schedules of NCAA tournaments require more time dedicated to athletics. It is thus important to consider paying college student-athletes as a token of appreciating for dedicating their time towards sports.

Reasons to Pay College Student-Athletes

Paying student-athletes will provide them with revenues to support their families. Some of the student-athletes come from low-class backgrounds where their families are unable to afford life's basic needs such as food and clothing (Koba, 2014). As a consequence, the athletes find it hard to concentrate on their studies as they leave school to work and support their families. Providing such students with an income will provide them with an ability to support their families without struggling and thus concentrate in both academics and their sport.

Student-athletes also bring in a huge amount of money from their participation in NCAA tournaments (Smith, 2011). Their participation in the college athletics games raises revenues to their various colleges and NCAA body. However, the college athletes are unable to see the benefit of these revenues raised since the money is used to pay coaches handsomely and other obligations. It will only be fair if the college athletes are also appreciated through a payment to their accounts. Paying college athletes is only giving them what they deserve for their hard work. Also, payment to the athletes will also bring motivation towards their sports career.

Paying student-athletes will help keep the students in college until the point where they are ready for graduation (Lemmons, 2017). In most cases, student-athletes do not have sufficient resources and revenues to support their education. As a consequence, they end up dropping out of college due to inability to sustain their studies. Once student-athletes are unable to continue with their studies due to financial constraints, they are forced to look for part-time jobs that will help them earn a living. Students who leave college to look for money are unable to participate in their studies anymore. It is necessary to understand that student-athletes will only be encouraged to work harder in their academics and their sports career once they have a motivating factor which is income earned from their participation.

At the point of graduation from colleges, some student-athletes are unable to find sport in the national leagues such as NBA and NFL (Karaim, & CQ Press, 2014). Consequently, a few graduates who were able to perform well in college are likely to get jobs while a larger percentage are likely to remain jobless for some time. Paying student-athletes is likely to give a sense of financial freedom and sustainability at the point of their graduation from college. Any individual who can receive an income for some time is likely to work on avenues to save and invest the money. It will be very necessary to provide student athletes with income from their participation due to the need to save more and invest for financial freedom after their graduation.

Paying student-athletes will also increase the competitiveness of college sports (Martin, Fasching-Varner, & Hartlep, 2017). Once students know that when they participate in college athletics, they will be able to earn an extra amount, so many talented students will be willing to participate. In most cases, some students weigh between academics and sports but end up choosing academics. Once a talented student who is good in the class knows that there is compensation for their effort, the student is likely to join the sport and work hard to balance both academics and sports.

Disadvantages of Paying Student-Athletes

Even though it seems right to pay student-athletes, there are many consequences that come with such decisions. The current economic conditions have pushed athletes to the need for more money to sustain their needs. However, some of the issues that can be considered as disadvantageous when paying student-athletes include the following;

Some of the college student-athletes already receive scholarships and benefits that come due to their participation in the sports (Karaim & CQ Press, 2014). Even though not all student-athletes receive scholarships, many of them receive fully paid scholarships to very competitive colleges. Students also receive stipends which help satisfy their basic needs. As a student, no one requires earning a large amount so that they can concentrate on their co-curriculum activity. Student-athletes thus have it easier while studying compared to other students who have to receive money regarding student loans which are repaid later with interest. Student-athletes should therefore not be paid since they are already receiving a lot of benefits from their participation in college sports and tournaments.

College sports should be done out of pure talent and passion (Southall, 2015). Paying student-athletes will distract college sports from their purity. If a person chooses to play, it means it is out of pure talent and passion towards the game. Any factor that is likely to distract this should not be allowed to prevail. College student-athletes should, therefore, not be paid as it will reduce the purity of the sport in the long run. Students will end up playing college games just for the money, and thus it will be difficult for coaches to choose talented players. For example, if a student-athlete is only motivated towards performing better due to the pay, it will be difficult to have the same student-athlete motivated towards the next level of a tournament which still earns the same amount whether they win or lose.

Even though college student-athletes are playing at an advanced level, they are not yet professionals. It is thus not a job for them to play for their colleges. Student-athletes have a choice not to play and rather concentrate on their academics. The athletic scholarships come at an advantage, and that is the reason why most of them find it easier to study while playing for their colleges. Student-athletes are still students, and their main goal is to study. The whole motive as a student will change if they will be receiving income in the long run which differentiates them from other students.

Paying college student-athletes will also lead to unfair compensation among the players. It will be a difficult task deciding the amount of money each athlete should be paid. Some students are very talented and score many goals or points in the field. Such students will not feel at the same level with others who are less talented and thus will demand more pay. Having students playing at different levels will lead to reduced productivity in the field, and the who competitive nature of college sports will reduce.

College student-athletes are amateurs who still don't have a sense of responsibility. Providing such students will compensation will be a disaster and a recipe for financial irresponsibility (Southall, 2015). At the level of being a college student, one will not be able to understand how to manage a large amount of money left alone make proper financial decisions on investment and savings. For example, paying a 19-year-old athlete will only lead to extreme bad behavior such as drug abuse. It is thus not advisable to pay college student-athletes.


The issue of paying student-athletes has only developed due to the commercialization of college sports. NCAA should thus forget about commercializing football and basketball and rather focus on maintaining an environment where the college athletes are considered as students first like in the Ivy League colleges. Creating such an environment will help reduce increased questioning of where revenues move to as a result of earnings from the sport.

If the case of paying student-athletes is the best choice, student-athletes who spend 20 hours involved in sporting activities should be compensated for the hours they are involved in an active sport. Such compensation will help cater for their basic needs and also increase motivation towards their work in the field. The compensation for the hours played should regarding allowance rather than salary. The allowances should be increased significantly to fit all the player's needs.


Paying student-athletes is not a bad idea since it will only show appreciation for their hard work in the field. However, the whole motive of paying student-athletes will reduce their role of being students to being professional athletes. Creating such a notion will reduce their performance in class and also reduce the competitiveness of the sport based on talent. From the analysis, the disadvantages that come with paying student-athletes outweigh the advantages. It is recommended not to pay student-athletes a salary. However, it is recommended that the student athlete's compensation regarding allowances should be increased to cater for most of their expenses and offer them a comfortable college life.


Karaim, R., & CQ Press. (2014). Paying college athletes: Are players school employees? Washington DC: CQ Press.

Koba, M. (2014). Student-athletes to get paid? It looks that way. CNBC. Retrieved 30 October 2017, from https://www.cnbc.com/2014/08/11/student-athletes-to-get-paid-sure-looks-like-it-say-experts.htmlLemmons, M. (2017). College athletes getting paid? Here are some pros and cons. HuffPost. Retrieved 30 October 2017, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/college-athletes-getting-paid-here-are-some-pros-cons_us_58cfcee0e4b07112b6472f9aMartin, L. L., Fasching-Varner, K. J., & Hartlep, N. D. (2017). Pay to play: Race and the perils of the college sports industrial complex. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC

Oriard, M. (2012). NCAA academic reform: History, context, and challenges. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 5(1), 4-18.

Smith, R. A. (2011). Pay for play: A history of big-time college athletic reform. Urbana, Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Southall, R. M. (2015). The pros and cons of making major reforms in the american collegiate athletic system. Congressional Digest, 94(6), 8-31.


Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the customtermpaperwriting.org website, please click below to request its removal: