Paid to play? College athletes should be compensated fairly


Luke Elkins, Editorials Editor

Being a college athlete is almost like having a full-time job. They have to balance long practices and game days with their schoolwork and studies. Many argue that they receive compensation in the form of a college education, but is this really enough? Their long days leaves no opportunities for them to earn any kind of money through working. This means many of them live a lifestyle that doesn’t match the revenue they generate for their university. There is a solution to this, but the NCAA seems unwilling to change.

Since student-athletes bring in revenue for their team and college or university, those who debate in favor of paying them say the students could receive a small portion of the profits. Yes, pay would vary, just as the universities with the more successful teams receive more television time or money than those with less successful teams. College football and men’s basketball programs earn far more than any other athletic program, so these athletes would likely earn more as well. This may not be considered fair pay, but many of those who argue in support of paying college players point out that team popularity and consumers generally determine what is considered fair.

Another possible solution if the NCAA refuses to change college athletes from amateurs to professionals is allowing college athletes to profit off their own image. College athletes would remain amateur, in the sense that they don’t receive any kind of salary, but allowing them to profit off their image would allow them to pursue endorsements.

Under current rules, the NCAA is very strict about any kind of money that college athletes make. UCF kicker Donald De La Haye had his scholarship removed because he had a YouTube channel where he posted football videos, among others. His channel had 700k subscribers at that point, so he was making significant money, but the NCAA said it was not permitted because he was using his name with sports activities. De La Haye isn’t the only student-athlete to be screwed by the NCAA. Dakota and Dylan Gonzalez, women’s basketball players at UNLV, had to give up their last year of eligibility in order to pursue a career in music. Joel Bauman, a wrestler at Minnesota, was deemed ineligible after selling a hip-hop song he made on iTunes.

The NCAA seems to want to control every aspect of their athletes lives, but they really need to take a step back and consider their mission statement that those who participate are students first and not professional athletes. The NCAA brings in $10.8 billion a year yet the student-athletes don’t see a cent of it. Playing a sport in college is a 40+ hour per week job and for the effort the players put in, they should be compensated.