Opinion Sports Columns

Paying College Athletes: Where Should the Line Be Drawn

Lately, it feels as if we have realized that we have glorified professional athletes so much that there is nowhere to go but down, so to keep ourselves busy we have directed our attention to college athletes.

Logan Mullen
Entertainment Editor




logan mullen
Photo Courtesy: Logan Mullen (Right)

Lately, it feels as if we have realized that we have glorified professional athletes so much that there is nowhere to go but down, so to keep ourselves busy we have directed our attention to college athletes.

In light of Shabazz Napier’s remarks in April about going to bed hungry, the idea of paying athletes has yet again come to the forefront.

Although what Napier said may be true, it is hardly an indication of the plight college athletes are leading us to believe they are enduring.

According to the Informed Athlete, “A full athletic scholarship covers the following costs of college:  tuition, certain course-related fees, room and board, and the value or provision of books.

An athletic scholarship may not cover all student fees, and also may not cover things like parking fines, a single room in the dorm, library fines or late fees, etc.”

When people see Napier’s story, it is easy to feel pity, but frankly, I’m not buying it, especially as a gateway to paying college athletes.

First things first, the fact that these athletes get into these schools without meeting the academic criteria is an absolute travesty.

While I know that there are many intelligent players, quite a few of these athletes still do not meet the standards required of regular applicants. Patrick Ewing, though not from the United States originally, did not even have a reading level close to a level in which he could have been attending Georgetown University without his basketball ability. This issue is nothing new.

To me, athletes, instead of looking for more, should be counting their blessings because of the opportunity they have been presented to gain a diploma from prestigious institutions, despite just getting passed along with a handful of credits a semester.

Frankly, for college athletes to get paid is greedy. Just 22  elite college programs made a profit in 2010, so if you play for a program that is not making a profit, where will the money come from?

The simplest, and most likely, result would be to get it from the institution, which means tuition prices would go up for students who are already paying to go to school. Essentially college athletes, who are compensated heavily in financial aid, would be accepting money from students who could garner financial aid through academics only. 

Where is the sense in that? It is the epitome of greed.

Far too many times, I have heard people make the case that they are going to college for athletics, so they should get paid because of it. I cannot help but chuckle at the mere thought of this. I am going to school for journalism, so every time I write for the newspaper or broadcast a game shouldn’t I get paid?

Should a sports management major get paid for working a sporting event? It is what we go to college for, so wouldn’t it make sense that we get compensated for it?

Believe me, I understand the rationale behind paying college athletes, but I disagree with it completely.

I understand that they put their bodies on the line and put in hours in the gym, and I am actually in favor of the union because they should be protected for what they had already been granted, but that should not warrant extra compensation.

Students go to college to develop skills to adequately prepare them for what they want to do in the professional world. The standard should be no different for college athletes, because whether they know it or not they are in college for almost the same exact reason.

I applied to seven schools when I was in pursuit of my college education. Of those schools, four were Division III schools and three were Division I schools.

The only two schools I was denied from were DI schools, moreover, they were two schools I was incredibly interested in attending.

Knowing that I did not get to go to those schools because I was just shy of the academic criteria, while handfuls of athletes attended the school for next to nothing simply because of athletic ability still frustrates me to an extent even today.

It is no accident that these athletes get to play at that level, as they have truly mastered a craft, something many people take their entire life to do.

Life is not fair, but a bulk of things in life that are unfair cannot be controlled. This can be controlled.

I understand the work that top-tier college athletes put in, but with the financial aid they get in the first place, it is absolute tomfoolery to think that tuition prices at these schools need to compensate athletes that are already going to school for less than those who met the academic criteria.

I know there are outliers to this case, but that is not the morale of the story here. It’s time to direct our money towards the true meaning of college: the education.

Leave a Reply