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Show them the money: why college athletes should be paid

Photo by David Ropotusin

March Madness is officially upon us, which means now is a perfect time to weigh in on the debate of whether or not college athletes should be paid. Some people argue that when student athletes receive scholarships for their skills, it counts as payment.

However, others believe college athletes should be paid because the students’ names and images are often used in advertisements and marketing. As a former college athlete myself, I believe college athletes should be paid. Here are three reasons why:

It’s a full-time job.

Being a student athlete is a full-time job. Between the weight room, actual games or meets, classes, film sessions and a number of other required activities, student athletes have no time to work another job. Yes, they receive scholarships to help cover their academics, but because of the hectic schedule and demanding time requirements, they are typically unable to seek even a part-time job to help sustain themselves.

Their sport consumes their life. According to the NCAA GOALS and SCORE studies, student athletes in Division I athletics spend an average of 35.4 hours per week on their athletics and 37.3 hours per week on their academics, leaving very little time for any other activity.

They bring in revenue.

Since student athletes bring in revenue for their college or university, they should receive a proportional amount of that revenue. Student athletes are often featured on billboards or used in various different advertising campaigns, but they are not compensated in the same way other campaign participants are.

Further, for those players and teams who get to participate in nationally televised games, there should be just compensation. Playing on the national stage generates great revenue for the television companies, universities and venues hosting the events. And since college athletes are the reason for that revenue, they should be paid.

It is unfair for universities to profit from the advertisement of one of its athletes without that athlete also receiving a portion of the profit.

Coaches get bonuses.

Whenever a team reaches the post-season or wins a championship, the coaches get a bonus. While coaches work incredibly hard, they are not the ones participating in the events. Their bodies are not constantly being sacrificed for the achievement. Coaches have a big impact on the team and the direction the season goes, but, in the end, it’s up to the athletes to get the job done.

When records are broken, coaches receive bonuses, but athletes receive none even though they are the ones who actually earned it. College athletes do not receive the salaries of their coaches, athletic directors and administrators; they should be paid a reasonable amount relative to how much the program makes per season.

In conclusion, student-athletes are a prominent source of revenue for colleges, yet they receive no compensation. They provide many additional benefits for their schools to promote and entice potential attendees. They have to miss class for extended periods and work hours deserving of pay for a full-time job.

Plain and simple, in every other arena of life, people are paid for the work they do. College athletes should be no different.

Show them the money.