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Post Column: College athletes should not be paid

Coaches of high-profile college football and men’s basketball programs are signing multimillion-dollar contracts year after year. In addition to that, some of those same high-profile programs are able to bring in millions of dollars in revenue every year.

That being said, the idea that college athletes should be paid a salary for their involvement with their respective teams is one topic of debate always seeming to stir up controversy.

There are certainly arguments to be made both for and against the payment of athletes. I personally believe that athletes should not be paid. First of all, students already receive generous forms of compensation because they are athletes. Secondly, it would diminish all the goals and morals that colleges and universities stand for. Lastly, deciding which athletes get paid and how much they receive would create controversy.

College athletes receive numerous amenities and luxuries free of charge. When added up, these amenities and luxuries equate to more than $100,000, which is way above an average American’s yearly income — currently less than $60,000 a year. The biggest of these luxuries is a full athletic scholarship which is renewable throughout the athlete’s four years. In addition to this, players receive free tutoring services, free travel expenses, free merchandise, and equipment. Some schools also give players preferential housing, allowing them to live close to their respective complexes and in some cases the athlete gets to move in to their dorms earlier than those who are non-athletes. These are just some of the perks associated with being an athlete. Though the student-athletes do not receive an actual “salary,” it is evident that the cost of all of these benefits far exceeds the salary that they would be earning at most jobs, excluding professional sports.

On to my second point: Paying college athletes would diminish all the goals and morals that colleges and universities stand for. Being a student-athlete implies that a person is both a student as well as an athlete. Universities want their athletes to achieve success on and off the athletic fields. Paying players would give them no incentive to achieve academic success, thus defeating the purpose of higher education.

Another issue with paying athletes is the difficulties associated with deciding which athletes get paid and how much they receive. It is no secret that football and men’s basketball bring in the most money to the athletic department. Other sports such as field hockey, swimming and soccer don’t bring in a lot of money in comparison, but they bring in money nonetheless. The university would have to decide whether all college athletes or just athletes who play certain sports get paid. It would also have to decide if all athletes are paid the same regardless of sport or if their salaries would vary. No matter what the decision, there will be disagreement. There is no way to create a payment plan that will please all college athletes. Also, universities will struggle to find the money necessary to pay the player because, despite what many people believe, less than 10 percent of colleges and university programs are able to make a profit by the end of the season. Most programs do not have the means to pay their athletes any form of a salary.

There is no doubt that college athletics are a huge time commitment and create challenges for athletes that non-athletes don’t have, but in the end, athletes shouldn’t be paid salaries.

 

Christopher Miller is a freshman studying broadcast journalism and sport management at Ohio University and a columnist for The Post. Should NCAA athletes be paid? Email Christopher at cm001111@ohiou.edu.

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