Student Athletes Shouldn’t Be Paid

Well, the debate is pretty much over. Should college athletes be paid? A recent California law will allow them to be paid, and the NCAA agrees. For many years, I have been against paying college athletes. The average cost of a four year public college or university education is $25,000 per year. An education at a private college or university costs about $50,000 per year (source: The College Board). Therefore, the athlete is getting a free education. What is the value of a free education? To me you cannot place a value on it. Many people believe because the schools are making millions, the athlete should share in that wealth. There is an argument that can be made for that position. But how many families can afford college without the student or parent taking on hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt? The college experience is more than just classrooms and books. A young person develops friendships and potential business contacts that can last a lifetime. How much is that worth?   

The NCAA’s decision to consider allowing college athletes to be compensated for their likenesses reflects a major change in their position on this issue and raises important questions. How will a school determine how much an athlete in each sport should be paid? The process of trying to figure this out is likely to take some time.  But, let’s be clear, I am aware of the amount of money that swirls around big time college sports. The schools are making millions. And some people view the modern athlete as nothing more than high value slaves! But the kid whose only avenue to get to college is through sports is getting a tremendous opportunity. Does being a student athlete make it harder to find time to study and practice? Of course it does, but time management is a skill that can be learned and will be very helpful to a working professional, which the majority of student athletes will become because only 2% of college athletes becoming professional players.  A college degree gives that young person an advantage. It doesn’t guarantee success, but it certainly does open doors. And let’s face it,that is all a person wants. If a kid is good enough to become a professional, then he or she will become what they’re worth. But the value of a free education cannot be underestimated.                                                       

So let’s talk about players receiving compensation. There is support in the public for college players to be paid and I do understand why. Fans are aware of the money colleges make because of the efforts of these young men. And it is only natural for people to want young people who are performing at a high level to be paid accordingly. The players want to be paid because they are also aware of the huge sums of money being paid to the schools and coaches. It is only natural for them to want to share in the fruits of their labor. In America if you are special and in the eye of the public, you are paid handsomely. That is the American dream! I get it. 

Sports are a special part of college life. Along with the education and social development of the young person, it should be preserved as one of the traditions of American life. I hope the system does not get turned into another way to remove one of the last opportunities for a person to enjoy the college experience without the pressure of making money. Working adults know this feeling!

Let me know your thoughts! I encourage comments that are against or support my position. 

Kelvin Buckson

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