Should Student Athletes Be Paid?

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Table of contents

  1. Zion Williamson, one victim to the NCAA’s robbery
  2. Why they should be paid
  3. Why they shouldn’t be paid

While college football and basketball make billions of dollars every year, none of it goes to the people who generate this money – the players. Added on to their regular schoolwork, hard enough for many students, players must dedicate their life to the sport. This raises one of the most discussed question in college sports – should student athletes be paid? There are two sides to this argument, both with different points.

Zion Williamson, one victim to the NCAA’s robbery

This is happening everywhere, most controversial in the most infamous college league, the NCAA. There are more than 460,000 student athletes in the NCAA, many being robbed of their hard-earned money from putting in maximum effort every day to play for their team. For example, college athlete Zion Williamson has made Duke University millions of dollars off his fame. In a game of March Madness, NCAA’s Division 1 basketball tournament, tickets went as high as $10,652, more than triple an average Superbowl ticket. The ticket prices aren’t the only thing rising either, as viewership, social media, and the sneaker industry have been on the rise since Williamson’s fame. Yesterday, a new Californian law was passed that allows college NCAA athletes to receive payment and endorsement deals, but only athletes in California will be able to make money. Though, this is a gateway that could lead to the whole nation being able to make money while a student athlete. Players can profit off their name, for example monetizing a YouTube channel focused around an athlete. For instance, UCF Football punter and kicker Donald De La Haye has a YouTube channel “Deestroying,” and monetized his videos surrounding his football career. He was left with the choice to drop his YouTube channel and keep his scholarship or keep his YouTube channel and lose his scholarship. He chose to pursue his YouTube career and now has recently passed over 2 million subscribers.

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Donald De La Haye, more known as “Deestroying,” is another sufferer of the NCAA’s rules, his scholarship being revoked for having a YouTube channel.

Basketball star Lebron James came out upon the topic on Instagram, fully supporting the law, saying “NCAA, you got the next move,” and “We can solve this for everyone!”

Why they should be paid

Student athletes are the hardest working people in the university, more than the teachers and other students. They must do all their regular schoolwork, on top of training, practice, and their games. In these games, colleges sell out tickets and pull in millions of viewers and money. These players are the source of this money, but still don’t get any compensation for being it. The athletes should be paid a portion of the money pulled in every game. Coaches make millions of dollars a year, and not that they are important, but it’s only a tidbit of what the players do on the field. Players are advertising their college and team for free, yet not making the money even the people on the advertising team makes. Only a sliver of college athletes go pro. This means the only way they could ever profit off their athletic career was from college. It is very reasonable to pay these student athletes, as much more money is being brought in by the sport, over 300x more than 70 years ago. These athletes shouldn’t be paid near the amount of a professional player, but they should be paid enough to not need to focus about money and put their whole mind on athletics and school.

Why they shouldn’t be paid

NCAA Survey Expert John Dennis found out that 69% of the general public is opposed to paying student athletes in 2013. Also, student athletes, if good enough, get paid with a scholarship, sometimes a full ride throughout college, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a student to play sports. Also, if players were being paid, they would focus on the college paying the most money to get them. People may join a low tier division 1 team paying millions of dollars instead of the top team in the nation because of the salary that comes with playing. This makes pursuing their dream sport a job instead of hobby.

In conclusion, there are many reasons college athletes should and shouldn’t be paid. A medium to this could be to give students scholarships and let them profit off their own name and athletic career. The athletes don’t need a salary, but it is reasonable to let them survive using their own name to make money. For example, the players could monetize YouTube channels, sign brand deals, and much more to make money other than having a salary. For now, students will continue being unpaid workers. This may be subject to change, as California has entered a law for players to be able to make money. This could lead to the whole nation being able to, changing the world of college sports forever.

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Should Student Athletes Be Paid? (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from
“Should Student Athletes Be Paid?” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
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