Should College Football Players Be Paid to Play

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There is a current debate over whether or not college football players should be paid to play. Many football players make a lot of money for their school and they receive nothing in return. The National College Athletic Association generates an astounding eight billion dollars a year. Almost all of that money is generated from broadcasting rights to March Madness every year. In addition, other NCAA championships make a little bit of television money from tickets, parking, concessions, merchandise, and all other non-television marketing items (Parker). Although individual players do not contribute to these profits, their fame draws fans to buy the merchandise and tickets. It is argued that players are in college, not the NFL, so playing in college is not their profession. Instead, they should focus on their classes. College football athletes should not be paid to play college football.

Football players should not be paid because it changes the focus of team to a focus of individualism. Tim Tebow said, 'Now we're changing it from 'us' from 'we' from 'my university,' being an alumnus where I care, which makes college sports special, to 'OK, it's not about us, it's not about we, it's about me,” (qtd… in Bumbaca). Being part of a college football team means that it is not about individualism but working as a team towards a common goal. When college players work as a team rather than individuals, it builds trust, teaches conflict resolution, and promote a wider sense of ownership. Working as part of a team takes advantage of each players’ strengths and teaches them to rely on each other for success. It is bigger than one person and how much that person is worth monetarily. Being a part of a team allows athletes to build lasting friendships, increase communication skills, become part of a bigger community, and learn how to respect their teammates and coaches. They learn to depend on each other and show responsibility by showing up for all practices and putting forth his/her best effort. In addition, it would create tension among the team if one player earned more money than another player. The tension created will result in missed opportunities and less chemistry among the players. It can also lead to players leaving the team. As a result, players will leave the team looking for greener grass at another university.

Besides taking away from having a team mentality, it is argued that college athletes are already compensated for playing football when they receive a free college education. It is argued that scholarships are an alternative form of payment that is already being provided to the players. One out of every thousand students receive a full-ride scholarship. This is fewer than twenty thousand students per year in the United States. Twenty million students are enrolled in college during the Fall of 2019. It is a privilege to play football at an amateur level, much less be awarded a college scholarship. According to Martinez,“if payments were involved, athletes would be given the incentive to commit to the college or university with the highest offer. The next year, they may transfer to another school with an even higher offer. Also, some colleges might not have the money to pay all the athletes equally. Before you know it, these college sports would be 100% business” (Martinez). According to the NCAA, scholarships are on average a hundred-thousand dollars a year. These scholarships do not include other benefits offered to players such as free tutors, cash stipends, unlimited meals, schedule benefits, trainers, free facilities, equipment, computers, or scholarships for postgraduate degrees. However, some may argue that college athletes are not able to fully find their identities as students to the same degree as their classmates because of the amount of time required for the sport. They are either on the field, preparing to be on the field, or working to complete college assignments.

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College student-athletes may be playing at an advanced level, but they still are not playing professionally. Athletics is not their job in college. According to Bumbaca, “it is not their job to play sports; it is an extracurricular activity that is pursued while pursuing higher education. Student-athletes are going to school to learn, and many are lucky enough to do so for a reduced cost, given the often generous athletic scholarships. If these athletes were paid, it would change their motives as students. They are still in college—which is a privilege in itself—while pursuing their dreams of playing a sport.” (Bumbaca). The NCAA does not allow student-athletes to work while their sport is in season. Ninety-three percent of NCAA senior football players will not make it to the NFL, which supports the notion that the players should focus on their career paths and not getting paid to play. Oliver Luck, the NCAA's former executive vice president of regulatory affairs, said: 'It would be a bad mistake to create campus employer-employee relationships with student-athletes.' Paying college athletes 'would distract in a very significant way of pursuing what they really need to pursue - an education... And we need to emphasize the value of that education” (Cameron).

According to Jasmine Harris, disparities exist among college athletes. College football and basketball players underperform academically and graduate at lower rates than other students (Harris). If athletes could be paid while they are attending a college program, then they would be more likely to stick with the program to eventually earn their degree. Student-athletes do not have time to get a job. Being a college student-athlete is a full-time job, bouncing between the weight room, the court/field, classes, and film sessions. “Football players have to put in so many hours for practice, it is impossible for them to get a job during the season. According to White, even in the offseason, they are training to stay in shape for the next year” (White). Student-athletes are limited in the careers they choose because of the demands of playing sports and the ability to study and be successful in some degree programs.

The demands of playing a sport limit some players from being able to choose tough careers. Only so much time is set aside for academics for college athletes and most often it is not enough. Academic rigor and athletic success often seem like incompatible goals. The schedules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) require an extended period in which the student-athletes must miss school. They do not have time to do anything else but the sport. The real debate in this discussion is whether or not college athletes are workers who attend school part-time? Or are they students who play sports part-time? Players at schools across the country are speaking up about the fact that they generate revenue for the colleges they play for but not for themselves.

The amount of money schools make off of college players is staggering. College athletes helped universities generate close to fourteen billion dollars in 2018 through ticket sales, television contracts, apparel deals, and merchandise sales. This kind of money cannot be made without serious time commitments among the players. None of this money goes back to the players even though the college profits from using the players’ names and images. Coaches and staff members are getting rich in the name of higher education while their players are broke.

College athletes are given the opportunity to earn a high-end education at no cost. The scholarships and other free benefits the players receive is their compensation for playing football. What would happen if the NCAA passed a bill to make it legal for colleges to pay football athletes? The lower division colleges like division two (D2), would not have the money to equally pay all the players forcing them to drop out of the league. The players' focus would be on themselves and not on what is best for the team. Many athletes would transfer to the college that offered the highest salary and the sport would lose its collegiate feel. College sports would become the same as sports at the National League, just at a lower level. It is important to keep college sports pure to the universities and colleges they represent. Making college sports a profession would change the focus of what is important during this stage of a players’ life, which is education. The majority of student athletes can not rely on their athleticism to carry them through life. College players should not make a career out of playing college sports. They should go to college to pursue an education so they can one day have a successful career.

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Should College Football Players Be Paid to Play. (2020, December 28). WritingBros. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/should-college-football-players-be-paid-to-play/
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Should College Football Players Be Paid to Play [Internet]. WritingBros. 2020 Dec 28 [cited 2024 May 26]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/should-college-football-players-be-paid-to-play/
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