Should College Athletes be Paid?


Do you think college athletes should be paid? This is a very controversial topic being brought to the attention of the courts and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). While many people are vocal in support of the idea, even more people are against paying college athletes. The NCAA states, “Maintaining amateurism is crucial to preserving an academic environment in which acquiring a quality education is the first priority. In the collegiate model of sports, the young men and women competing on the field or court are students’ first, athletes second” (NCAA). Also because of Title IX, women’s and men’s sports are treated fairly by the schools. That being said, if the huge, money-making sports like football or basketball are going to be paid, then all sports need to be compensated. For example, girls soccer would have to be paid as well as the archery team and the rowing team. Van Jones points out, most importantly, these athletes need to be worried about their grades, rather than how much they are being paid; “however much money is getting made the most valuable thing when you’re a young person is an education” (Jones).



As one CNN broadcaster pointed out in the short video clip incorporated in my video, “at the same time, look at how much money everyone around them is making.” The broadcaster has a good point. Coaches and the university do make a lot of money from their athletes at top tier schools. While the colleges and coaches are stuffing their pockets, the athletes feel like they are tied to their sport like it’s a part-time job on top of hours of classes, practice, training, and games. If college athletes are going to “work” at their sport, then they should be paid. All the while, non-athletic students have plenty of free time to do their studies and even get a job, if they want to work.


Personal Interviews & Survey
I conducted interviews to incorporate the opinions of staff and students attending college today. We have heard through press conferences, interviews and court debates what student athletes want and what the NCAA wants, but what about the other 98% of the universities population that doesn’t play a sport? In addition, I interviewed the sports psychologist at JMU, Dr. Carson, to get a point of view of how it may affect the student athletes. I put this interview as well as the other two into the video I made. To get a broader range of opinions, I took a survey of 50 people at JMU and found out that 38 said no athletes should not be paid, while 12 said yes they should be paid. Which comes close to the results from a survey posted by ESPN in 2014 regarding the debate.

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 8.44.56 PM Although long, this NBC video debating whether college athletes should be paid or not is extremely informative and is not bias towards either side of the issue. NBS chose the perfect panel of experts for this interview. The panel includes the President of NCAA, Mark Emmert, Obama aide, Reggie Love, and Education Secretary, Arne Duncan. Love is a former football and basketball star from Duke University and Duncan, a Harvard basketball standout. Love and Duncan speak from first-hand experience as college athletes. The video opens with a great info-graphic of a poll taken about whether or not college athletes should be paid to play. Their stats suggest 33% say “yes” and the other 66% say “no” to paying athletes. Love makes a good point; “if you look at the coach’s salary and the money the universities are able to bring in from alumni obviously college sports is a business.” That being said, I think it is hard to say that every player should be paid for their participation in a specific dollar amount. But I do think that students are a key part in the ecosystem and there should be the opportunity to bring long term value. It should just be about athletic development but about athletic, professional and personal development of these student athletes.”  Emmert makes a valid counterpoint when explaining where all the money goes that is generated by NCAA athletes. He says the billions of dollars of revenue is not being kept by the NCAA. Instead, the funds are put back into the college athletic programs and funding all the tournaments and events for all sports, men’s and women’s athletic programs. Without this money, smaller sports would be cut. Do we really want to “kill” the lesser sports in order to financially support big revenue sports? That’s exactly the outcome we will see if we start to pay student-athletes for playing the game.


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