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Should College Athletes Be Paid?

Perspectives on both sides of the issue.

Should collegiate athletes be paid?

Certainly this is a controversial and emotional issue; something for all of us to think about. A low-profile discussion is continuing at the NCAA. Here are a few perspectives:

Try not to just scratch the surface on this issue. Dig deeper into educational values, consequences, fairness, equality, cause and effects. 

 Don't just take the easy generalizations of NCAA greed and profit and the players are already being paid. Think about the true meanings of the words amateur and professional and how they might change.

I have not made up my mind on this issue.

* College towns and universities make tens of millions of dollars off of the extraordinary talents and efforts of student athletes. Large percentages of small college-town business revenue and municipal budgets generated by intercollegiate athletes.

* However, not all athletes participate in sports that generate money. In some cases like baseball some schools generate money in baseball. However,  other schools that compete have extremely poor attendance. Sports are offered to attract a broad-base student enrollment. They considered baseball and many other sports, non-revenue generating teams.

* When competing in college, some players receive injuries that eliminate them from a professional career.

* Many college athletes receive 100 percent of their college expenses, others only 25 percent and still others nothing at all.

* Currently players receive no income for the sale of their image, or memorabilia.

* Would only the men receive money, since the prime sources of revenue are men’s basketball and football?

* If they were paid, should every varsity participant be paid an equal amount?Or should they be paid as a professional, according to value and productivity as an athlete or their ability to generate money?

* NCAA Division I coaches are paid hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.

* Currently, a college athlete consumes more time per week in athletics, than in class. Would/should a professional collegiate athlete's academic eligibility to play need to be re-evaluated? Is there a need for a new category and definition? Should we renew the term Semi-Pro?

Having considered the above, there are two remaining and somewhat overwhelming factors:

A) Are pro fans essentially different from collegiate fans, or is it just the   venue? And if players were paid, would that change the fan experience? 

B) If players were paid would the game itself change; would the players play differently? 

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Steve L November 01, 2011 at 05:46 PM
Should they at present? No. Can it be made possible? Sure, though several things you've mentioned would have to be considered. Does it make sense? Probably not. A) Yes, because there is a stronger, more loyal fan base. In collegiate sports you support the school more than you do the team. America doesn't have a strong sense of regional pride outside special pockets who love their teams even though they perpetually disappoint. B) Yes. A very low ceiling on a salary cap would need to be created in order to ensure talent is spread out and schools don't just buy their championships. Also, a very small amount of money doesn't take away from the dreams of riches in professional sports to which collegiate athletes should continue to perform toward.
Michelle November 01, 2011 at 11:49 PM
I have worked in higher education for quite awhile and I used to feel quite strongly that college athletes -- or as the NCAA calls them -- student athletes -- shouldn't be paid. But I've revised my opinion. In the current, flawed system, I believe that they should be paid. The many abuses of the current NCAA system are well detailed in the October 2011 cover article "The Shame of College Sports" in the Atlantic Monthly. if you haven't already read it, I urge you to. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/10/the-shame-of-college-sports/8643/ As with all other students, retention and progress towards graduation is a huge issue with student athletes and NCAA Div 1 and Div 2 coaches need to be assessed on the percentage of their players that they graduate within 6 years (although I personally think 4-5 years is a better measure).

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