Should Division 1 Athletes Get Paid?
Anyone who watches football knows that bowl week is coming up. Stadiums will get packed, TV stations will get thousands of viewers, games will be sponsored, and universities and the NCAA will make thousands if not millions. And this raises an important question: should the players be getting a share as well?
When one looks at top college athletes like Tua Tagovailoa and Kyler Murray , it’s hard to believe that they’re making no money. These athletes are selling out stadiums, making their schools more popular, and raking in lots of profits for their schools and the NCAA alike by attracting sponsorships and advertisements. But despite being the ones responsible for all these profits, they’re not getting their share.
And for the most part, being a college athlete isn’t just an extra-curricular activity on the side: it’s a full time job. Aside from all the hours an athlete spends on the field practicing and playing games, they also have to spend lots of time off the field. This includes weight training, team meetings, watching film, and traveling to away games.
Compared to a normal student, even a student with a job or internship, student athletes often have much less time to focus on their academics. And their sport-related schedules can also interfere with what classes they are able to take, meaning they may not always be able to get the education they want. These athletes are often sacrificing getting the best education possible in order to to focus on their athletics.
Some argue that if players don’t like not getting paid, or if sports are really that much academic trouble for them, then maybe they just shouldn’t be playing sports in college. The issue is that a lot of these players don’t have a real choice. Sure, no one’s stopping them from taking off their pads or gloves and walking off the field. But in doing that, they would often be walking out of the future they want.
When athletes play in college, they often want to go pro. The fact that they’ve gone this far, put in this much work, means this sport is their passion; it’s probably what they want to do until they retire. And not playing in college would mean they’d have an extremely small chance of accomplishing this. So even if they don’t like not getting paid, they’ll have to go through with it and keep their mouths shut if they want to have a future in their sport. And this is how the NCAA has been able not pay them with no repercussions.
Another issue that makes people skeptical of paying athletes is that paid players may be influenced to play for colleges who are offering them the most money. People fear that the richer colleges will then get the best athletes, and colleges with less money will be left with extremely disadvantaged sports programs. But these people can ease their minds, because there’s more than enough money to keep these athletes happy.
Now, you may ask, where’s all this money going to come from? This money’s going to come from the billions of dollars colleges and the NCAA make combined. The NCAA alone makes over a billion dollars each year. And that’s after expenses. And Division 1 colleges are responsible for bringing in as much as hundreds of millioms off sports alone. Even the smallest ones are still bringing in over $15 million.
Surely, schools making hundreds of millions off of sports could find more than enough room to give their players the money they deserve, even after paying their coaches and using some of the profits for other school needs. As for schools making less money, they could receive some help from the NCAA. The NCAA, a multi billion dollar company, certainly shouldn’t have much trouble lending a few million to some Division 1 schools each year.
This means that even Division 1 schools making the least money should have no trouble competing with wealthier schools and keeping their players happy after they get some help from the NCAA, who should have no trouble doing so.
And the possibility of paying college athletes certainly not gone unnoticed, as many former college stars have voiced their frustration.
Former University of Tennessee running back Arian Foster has made his disapproval of the NCAA very clear. “I’m not a fan of the NCAA at all,” he told Joe Rogan Experience, “Those crooks don’t pay their players.”
Although it’s certainly possible for Division 1 athletes to get paid without negatively impacting college sports, colleges and the NCAA will probably not make this change come easily. But should people keep seeking change and voicing raising awareness in the issue, it may just be the future for college sports in the long run.