pay the athletes

Winner-The Booksie 2017 High School Essay Contest Winner - The Booksie 2017 High School Essay Contest

Reads: 4237  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Sports  |  House: Booksie Classic

Babatunde Anjorin



College english


Athletes all around the world are hard at work. They train their bodies to the extreme, travel around frequently, and are often in the spotlight light. And these people put on these displays of athletic finesse not just for other people’s amusement, but for their own benefit as well.  Some professional athletes are paid millions of dollars yearly. But with the amount of strain and pressure that are put on them daily, it would seem that the money is a fair payoff. College athletes are put through the same pressure as professional athletes, yet they are not compensated for the time they put into playing the sport. This is an unjust action that has been going on ever since the creation of college sports. Student athletes are put through almost everything professional athletes are; they deserve to be compensated for their hard work.

The topic of whether college athletes should be paid has been debated for years.  Advocates of not paying student athletes state that there are multiple problems with having to pay them to play a sport. One of which is that the colleges simply do not make enough money to pay their athletes. Supporters of not paying college athletes express that only a handful of schools actually make enough to pay their athletes (Dosh). Even the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) said that its member institutions do not have enough to pay their athletes (Strachan).  However, there are many college sports teams who make enough revenue to pay the players, yet give that money to their respective schools instead. David Berrl, an economist professor, states “that dosen’t mean they aren’t making money, that just means that they spent all of it.”  It is understandable why smaller schools can’t pay, but not paying at all is unjust to the athletes. There are ways for underfunded college teams to generate the revenue. The University of Alabama produces more income than any one National Hockey League team (Edelman). Each school itself is its own business; a solution would be for teams in the NCAA to combine profits with schools that take in less revenue from sports in order to pay the players. In addition to this, research has shown that the NCAA may actually have the means to pay their athletes. The Huffington Post asked five economists if the NCAA could do just this and all of them said yes. David Berrl, one of the economist, said “I don’t see any reason they wouldn’t be able to” (Strachan). This shows that the NCAA does have the ability to compensate their players. For these reasons it is clear that money doesn't seem to be the problem.

Even if the amount of money isn’t an issue, there are still problems with having to pay student athletes. Opponents of paying college athletes say that they are already paid for their hardwork; college athletes are rewarded with scholarships. The University of Connecticut, or Uconn, as it’s more commonly known as, is one of the best athletic schools in America. But going to this school does not come without pain. Out of state tuition for this school can come over thirty-two thousand dollars (College Board). Combine that with lunch and student fees and the total price can come well over forty thousand dollars. However, students who receive scholarships can nullify the pricing for these schools. Schools pay millions of dollars for scholarships, and with expert coaching, meals, and medical care, it would seem obvious that scholarships are payment enough (Dorfman). But this “scholarship payment” idea is not perfect; there are some flaws with this plan. One flaw is that not all student athletes make the cut for receiving scholarships. Many college students are outstanding athletes in their own right.  And while “thousands of athletes will head off to visit colleges this fall hoping to be recruited, only a small fraction will make the cut.  Even fewer will get scholarships” (Kelly Holland).  There are serious college athletes who had to pay their way through college, and some of these student athletes have academic disadvantages, which why they play sports in the first place.  But if they struggle paying for pre-college schools, it will be almost impossible to pay for college. Scholarships also only pay for in school expenses. Bills like cellphone and gas money do not fall under the scholarship deal. When NFL linebacker O’Brien Schofield was in college, “he ran into a problem every month: his stipend was running out and the rules surrounding training table food were strict” (Mandell). This is first-hand evidence that even with a scholarship, college athletes still struggle with paying bills.

Perhaps the amount of money colleges make isn’t a problem, and maybe scholarships are not enough payment for student athletes, but even with all the hard work they put in, they still don’t deserve to be paid.  Most student athletes play sports for the college education. These student athletes are just that: students.  Student athletes are amateurs “just like a student accountant, who is making a choice to participate in a sport as part of their overall educational experience” (Anderson). No matter how great the athlete is, they are not professionals, and don’t deserve to be paid. The critics of paying college athletes clearly do not understand the life of college athletes. The critics say that playing college sports aren’t real jobs.  But most college athletes can put in fifty to sixty hours of practice a week, while still in college classes.  Northwestern university players can spend up to 14 hours getting ready. Even the NLRB’s (National Labour Relations Board) “Chicago office found that the Northwestern players are, in fact, employees of the university and have the right to be represented by a union” (Isidore). This makes it evident that players are working as hard as professionals, and deserve payment.  And just like professional sports, playing college sports does not come without risk.  Athletes in both professional and college sports have the highly probable chance that they will get injured while playing a sport.  One case is with football player Eric LeGrand. “LeGrand was only twenty years old when he “suffered a spinal-cord injury” during an in-game collision that left him paralyzed from the neck down” (Darcy). Both student and professional athletes go through the risk of having an injury that will lead them to never having a normal life, yet only one of them get paid.  It is glaringly obvious that the student athletes deserved to be paid.

Even with the fact that the student athletes go through risk of injury, supporters of not paying student athletes still believe that they shouldn’t be paid. They believe that it’s the coaches whom pave the way to college athletes being ready for professional play. The coaches are the ones that put the players through the hard training and make the meal plans.  Its them that make college football players “NFL-ready players” (Slebold). This may be true, but coaches can’t make student athletes ready if the athletes don’t have the talent or dedication to play the sport.  Coaches are the people that make the student athletes ready, but the athletes are the one that put in the real work. There is supposed to be a twenty hour limit of practice time per week for NCAA athletes, yet most NCAA players practice around fifty hours a week (Writers).  More practice time means less academic time. This shows that it’s truly the players, not the coaches, who go through the struggles, and in deserve to be paid.  In addition to that, coaches are paid more than fairly. College coaches are paid to make the student athletes ready for the pros. And they are paid substantial amounts of money. “The head football coach at Alabama is reported to have made $5.5 million in the year 2013” (Anderson). That is more than some NFL coaches, who coach professional athletes.  It is unmistakable that changes have to be made; coaches don’t deserve to be paid this much while the student athletes are paid nothing despite doing all the hard work, training, and playing.

Paying the athletes won’t just benefit them, but it will benefit the sport itself. Paying college athletes will lead them to be more serious.  That seriousness wouldn’t just be for their own sport, but for their academics as well.  If the athletes were paid, they wouldn’t have to worry about their own money.  They could instead focus on their academics and sports.  Paying them won’t just benefit the player, but the NCAA as well.  With the athletes being less stressed, they will be able to focus on their game. This will make the players “bigger, better competitors which would in turn make the NCAA more money” (Anderson). Pro athletes are paid for playing, and they still function at a hundred percent almost every game. This proves that  “Money will distract the players” ideas are ridiculous, and just a ludicrous attempt at the colleges trying to keep their money.

Paying college athletes will also prepare them to be professional athletes.  The athletes will learn how to manage their money.  Saving money is one of the most important skills anyone can ever learn. But by not paying the athletes, the colleges are in fact, restricting the learning skills that the young athletes that aren’t academic or sport related; they need to know how to manage their money. These athletes are working towards a professional sport contracts. But if they aren’t paid anything, some of them won’t know how to manage their money, or see which contract is best for them. “Many players will learn the value of money and the responsibility that comes from holding down a job” (Keolanui). Managing money is one of life's most important experiences, and these athletes deserve to know how.

The action of playing college players will benefit the economy as a whole. Paying college athletes will also halt corruption. Everyday, crimes of larceny and taking bribes are happening all over our nation.  Pro athletes included; not all athletes are clean.  Some pro athletes are in with some of the worst scandals in US history. But paying college athletes can change this.  “If players were paid for playing football, the other rules with endorsement income and autograph sales can be more easily enforced” (Keolanui).  This will lead to less scandals and lower crime rate for all.

The college athletes are the money makers that colleges need.  Without them, most of these colleges would be broke. It is clearly time that we start paying our student athletes.


Works Cited

Anderson, Dave.  “Top 10 Reasons College Athletes Should Not Be Paid.” Top 10 Lists |, 17 Mar.  2016,  

-paid/.  Accessed 12 Jan 2017

Anderson, Dave.  “Top 10 Reasons College Athletes Should Be Paid.” Top 10 Lists |, 9 July 2016, athletes-should -be-paid/.  Accessed 12 Jan 2017

Darcy, Kieran.  "Rutgers' Eric LeGrand paralyzed."  N.p., 18 Oct.  2010.  Web.  4

Mar.  2014.<>.  Accessed 12 Jan 2017


Dorfman, Jeffrey.  “Pay College Athletes? They'Re Already Paid Up To $125,000 Per Year.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 29 Aug.  2013, /08/29/pay-college-athletes-theyre-already-paid-up-to-125000year/#1de9d8934797.  Accessed 01 Jan 2017

Mandell, Nina.  “Why Full Scholarships And Stipends Don't Add Up For Student-Athletes.”

Http://, 30 July 2013,

/201307/living-high-life-not-so-much-college-athletes-say.  Accessed 11 Jan 2017

Edelman, Marc.  “21 Reasons Why Student-Athletes Are Employees And Should Be Allowed To

Unionize.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 6 Jan.  2015.

/2014/01/30/21-reasons-why-student-athletes-are-employees-and-Should-be- allowed-to-unionize/#1636f10a2991.  Accessed 3 Jan 2017

SportsMoney.  “The Problems With Paying College Athletes.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 30 July


college-athletes/#5edbe612c5d8.  Accessed 3 Jan 2017.

Strachan, Maxwell.  “NCAA Schools Can Absolutely Afford To Pay College Athletes,

Economists  Say.” The Huffington Post,, 27 Mar.  2015.

Accessed 3 Jan 2017

Isidore, Chris.  “Why Being a College Athlete Is a Full-Time Job.” CNNMoney, Cable News

Network, 31 Mar.  2014, /companies /college -athletes-jobs/.  Accessed 12 Jan 2017

Slebold, Steve.  “College Football Players, Not Coaches, Deserve to Be Paid.” Mercatus Center,

14 Sept.  2016, football-players -not-

Coaches-deserve-be-paid.  Accessed 12 Jan 2017

Writers, Staff.  “14 Surprising Facts About Being a College Athlete.”, 13 Dec.  2016,

14-surprising-facts-about-being-a-college-athlete/.  Accessed 12 Jan 2017
Keolanui, Craig.  “Top 10 Reasons College Football Players Should Get Paid.” TheSportster,

Accessed 12 Jan 17
“UCONN University of Connecticut.” Tuition and Costs | University of Connecticut, Accessed 10 Jan 2017

Submitted: April 16, 2017

© Copyright 2022 babat. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Facebook Comments

Other Content by babat

Essay / Sports