Should College Athletes Get Paid to Play?

Spencer Jones, Sports Editor

When it comes down to college sports teams, there are many topics that quickly spark debate. One of the biggest is the question of whether or not college athletes should get paid to play.  There are over 380,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities, it can be argued that the only purpose for athletes is to bring in revenue for the schools. Taylor Branch of “The Atlantic” magazine wrote an article in 2011 in which he went into detail about how he felt that colleges and universities were making millions of dollars off of athletes, and the players see nothing in return. Branch went as far as claiming that “without pay, protection or a voice, college athletes, a large percentage of whom are African Americans, are treated like slaves.” College athletes should not get paid for participating in the athletics department of their respective schools.

Even though these colleges and universities are making money from the games through television contracts, merchandise, concession stands and ticket sales, the players are getting reimbursed with scholarships, dorms, meals, uniforms, free publicity and free travel when they go to away games. If they’re good enough to play professionally, then they will eventually get drafted. Playing in college should be like playing in high school or in grammar school: it’s just another extracurricular activity.

It’s a fact that the athlete needs the school, the schools doesn’t need the athlete. Without these colleges, the athletes wouldn’t get the right exposure needed to get into the major leagues. Sure, the schools make their profits, but the players need the universities more than the universities need any one individual player. Reggie Bush needed USC, or another NCAA school, to get to the NFL to make his millions. USC was able to showcase his abilities and put him in a position to obtain a professional career. Without USC, it’s likely that Reggie Bush wouldn’t have gotten into the league, and he wouldn’t have made the money that he did. If the star running back is paid, will the fourth string running back, which never sees playing time, also be paid?  If the starter gets paid more, then the backup might just transfer to a school where he can be the starter in order to get paid more money. If football and basketball players are getting paid, Title IX comes into play and women’s college athletes should get paid just as much as their male counterparts.

Schools shouldn’t pay their athletes. How can you pay someone who doesn’t have the mindset to stay and get his or her degree? The Title IX law that states that if male athletes gets paid, then female athletes must do so as well. This includes track and field, soccer, golf and other players. It’s discrimination if you put only the basketball and football players on a salary. In my opinion those who excel in their academics are the students who keep the colleges and universities in high standards.