College athletes: To pay or not to pay?

The Hawaii Warrior football team, makes their way out of the tunnel in their game against the USC Trojans at the LA coliseum.

By Sam Martin,

The one difference between amateur and professional athletes is pros are paid for what they do. However, with all of the progress that college athletics has made over recent years, college sports is in every way a commercial enterprise. So if professional athletes get paid for the money they make for the organization and league, do college athletes deserve to be paid for the money they earn the schools and NCAA?

This confrontational topic has made waves in the NCAA boardrooms in recent years. With the NCAA benefitting from TV deals reaching as high as 11 billion dollars, it certainly deserves a conversation.

College athletes are the ones who are out on the practice field everyday, working hard for their teams and their schools and they are the whole reason that the NCAA exists, so is it fair that athletes don’t see a dime of the all the money the NCAA makes off of their games? The proposed measure brought up by the NCAA would give universities the option to give their athletes 2,000-dollar stipends.

Public opinion

There is a split feeling amongst the public on this subject, with both sides drawing similar amounts of support. Some people believe that athletes absolutely deserve to get a cut of the billions of dollars they make for the NCAA, but some also feel that athletes already receive enough financial support from their school.

Athletes already receive large amount of financial aid from their schools, covering books, room and tuition.  Students at the University of Hawaii who most of the time are working multiple jobs to pay their way through school, believe that extra money for athletes is unnecessary.

“ I think that the pay for play concept is unnecessary for college athletes,” said junior UH student, Christian Kahookaulana. “ They get enough financial aid as it is, why do they need more money, when I am paying full tuition with little financial aid?”

Both sides of this argument seem to have valid points in their favor; the non-athlete students in universities all over are struggling with their finances and could use some extra money in their pocket. So why are universities considering paying the student athletes more money when they have the most financial aid on campus?

Athletes are students too

The other side of this debate recognizes the financial aid that athletes are given but claim that it is not enough money for athletes to survive on a daily basis. During the season athletes are fully compensated with food, housing, and merchandise, however when their sport is out of season, many athletes struggle with money and they cant get a job because they are expected to train and study during their off time both in and out of season.

It’s easy for people on the outside to speculate on what athletes spend their scholar ship money on and whether they truly need more money for daily functions. However, when talking to the student athletes themselves, some are open to the possibility of pay for play.

“I believe college athletes, especially football players should get paid because of the amount of hours they put in everyday,” said UH golfer, Henry Park.

Senior, UH golfer, Henry Park.

“In college golf we don’t make money for the school like the football team so I would understand if we didn’t get paid… but the athletes are the ones that are attracting the fans which leads to jersey sales, ticket sales etc. It is a full time job being a student athlete and people think it’s all fun and games but we barely have time to study after a long day of practice.

This heated debate seems to be picking up steam with the more money that the NCAA continues to reap off of its athletes without compensation. Regardless of which, ever side you are on, we can all agree that if pay for play is instituted it will drastically change the face college sports.