Higher Compensation for Higher Education: Paying College Athletes

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USEM 102
21 February 2011

College Athletes: Higher Compensation for Higher Education?
Division 1 athletes have it all: the glory of representing the school’s colors and honor, the pretty girls, televised games, and most have room and board along with classes paid for. Some think that all this is not enough for these young players; they deserve to be paid for their dedication and hard work. This is a very controversial topic because there is such a fine line between professional athletes and amateur athletes. College athletes get scholarship money for performance on the field or court, and the definition of a professional athlete is someone who gets compensation for on field or court performances. When you add a paycheck and agents into college sports, holdouts on contracts and greed start ruining a pure game. College athletics are special in many different ways, but the most important may be the fact that college athletes are playing for the love of the game and not the love of a buck.

Controversy has followed the issue regarding college athletes and whether they should be paid to play. Both sides have convincing arguments; on the side of payment to college athletes believe athletes should be compensated because the athletes are the attraction when spectators come to games and when fans buy jerseys and other memorabilia. Think of how much revenue star players bring the schools they attend, between jerseys, tickets, and money schools get for attending bowl games, the players should get a cut. If student athletes get paid then they have more initiative to stay in school and get a degree. Many people also think that if an athlete gets paid to play then the incentive to partake in illegal activities will be eliminated between players and agents. Most star college athletes do not have time for a job to make money so they need some other source of income rather than relying on family. For a college athlete, school and practice is a full time job and most would have a hard time juggling a part time job as well. But once we start paying college athletes than we cross the line from amateurism to professionalism.

The argument against the payment of college athletes is based on the fact that agents, schools or boosters cannot pay an amateur athlete to play because that is the definition of a professional athlete. College athletes with full ride scholarships get free room, board, food, and get books paid for. They also get special assistance in academics, get first pick at classes at some schools, so the question arises, aren’t athletes pampered enough as it is? When student athletes decide they want to attend a school and play a sport for that school, they are well aware of the commitment they are making. If they needed to have a job to support themselves then they would have to make the decision to do so. Schools offer athletes a education and the opportunity to play a sport on the next level; it is a stretch to ask for monetary compensation as well. Fans of college sports do not want the top athletes to choose the school they are going to based on the school’s budget. Part of the beauty of college sports is the connection players have with their schools; school spirit and rivalries make college sports what they are. If athletes are paid than they will see college as a job and not have the same passion that they do now. Schools like Ohio State and USC would have a field day on blue chip athletes and become the New York Yankees of college because of their giant payrolls. Student athletes should choose a school for the educational values, the coaching staff and program prestige, not paychecks and other monetary benefits. Athletes have enough responsibilities and stress in the recruiting process without having to deal with signing bonuses, agents and worrying about paychecks.

When a student athlete is being recruited, it is open season for recruiters, they send beautiful hostesses to escort the...
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