College Athletes Should Not Become Employees

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On February 20, the best college basketball player in the nation Zion Williamson, ripped through his shoe and had an apparent knee injury 30 seconds into Duke’s basketball game against the University of North Carolina. Fans erupted on Twitter thinking it was the last college game we’d ever see him play. Professional basketball players were tweeting that he should sit out the season because the NCAA was making way too much money off him and he was receiving none. Unfortunately, I believe that college athletes do not deserve to get paid because they are already getting paid enough in terms of tuition and school and money would ruin the joy of college sports.

Treating college athletes as employees would alter the way colleges interact with them, only exacerbating the cultural divide between student and “student-athlete.” Athletics are about self-development, teamwork, and education. (Harvard Crimson)

Throughout the years, professional sports have become more and more about money. Players have sat out seasons because they are not paid enough, or have signed with the team that has paid them the most. The joy of professional sports has become more and more about money than winning, so why would we start paying college athletes? The point of going to college is to earn these career opportunities and further our knowledge, not to get paid while going to school. If colleges were to start paying their athletes, athletes would go where the most money is. It is unfair for a student to make his decision on school based on how much money they will be paid. Also, bigger schools would have bigger advantages at signing the best athletes considering they’d have the most money to pay. Another issue about paying student athletes would be how much to pay each athlete. Market demand and market value will vary from athlete to athlete. For example, a college football team can hold up to 125 players. Having that many players on a team is hard to pay all of them with everybody being content. Another issue on a college football team is that there are many different positions. The market value would be very different for each position. A starting quarterback, a punter or a role-player on a team would all have different values. (CNBC)

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The NCAA reports only 24 Football Bowl Subdivision schools were profitable in 2014. This information shows that schools aren’t really profiting off their student athletes and don’t have much money to pay their student athletes either. The reason they invest is because sports provide educational value to student-athletes while enhancing overall campus life and building life-long connections with alumni and other supporters. (CNBC) If they decide to pay their student athletes, it would be harder for schools to make improvements athletically and academically.

Another reason for college athletes not deserving to get paid is that athletes tend to drop out and go professional. When athletes do this, the school ends up losing money. An example of this would be CJ Masters of Kansas State University in March of 1993. Masters dropped out in hope of going to the National Football League. When he wasn’t offered a contract, he was forced to do many jobs in order to earn income. However, he wasn’t able to work really good jobs because he didn’t have his college degree. Eventually, he decided he wanted to go back to college, but he didn’t earn the scholarship he once had.(Gale) Unfortunately, colleges are only allowed to pay their athletes coming back and have a hard time paying their former athletes. As you can see, a degree is necessary in many jobs which is another reason that college athletes shouldn’t be paid as college is already being paid for them.

The last reason I think that college athletes shouldn’t be paid is due to market value and the violation of Title IX. Title IX states that no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Basically, all athletes should be paid equally and that is just hard to do. Men’s sports attract way more viewers compared to women’s sports and that makes it a lot harder to pay them equally. When you are not paying your men and women teams equally, you are violating Title IX (FOD).

Instead of paying college athletes, I believe the NCAA should allow their players to be able to profit however. In 2017, high school junior Lamelo Ball was on the brink of giving up his college eligibility due to having his own signature sneaker. Because Ball would be using his athletic skill to earn revenue he would be violating Article 12 of the NCAA Division 1 Manual and would be ineligible. This is where I think the NCAA should negotiate. If players aren’t able to receive money from their respective schools, then I think they should be able to make ways to earn revenue such as making a signature shoe or clothing brand. It is unclear if Ball would have been eligible since he technically didn’t receive any money(all went to the brand) and decided to go overseas instead of going to college.

If student-athletes start to get paid, they would technically not be student-athletes, but rather athletes or employees. Making them employees would take the fun away from the game and just make college athletics all about money. Therefore, I strongly believe that college athletes do not deserve to get paid as they already make enough money in getting college paid, it would be a violation of Title IX, and colleges simply do not have enough to pay every athlete.

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