College athletes should not be paid.
Recently, there has been a push to start paying college athletes because of the amount of money they bring to their respective colleges. This would be horrible for the collegiate games and the wrong route. After all, it all comes down to recruiting, scholarships and opportunities.
College athletes that receive full-ride scholarships are technically “getting paid”. While having tuition, housing and books all paid cost in the $125,000 range, but that’s not all. When nutritional advice, apparel, tutoring, professional coaching and fitness training are added in, the figure can easily jump over $200,000. Of the 20 million college students each year, an estimated 60 percent of them need financial help. Of that 60 percent, most will be paying off that debt for a very long time; unlike many collegiate athletes, who will have little to no debt waiting for them.
College recruiting, as it is now, is corrupt and unfair to lower-level schools. Powerhouse conferences like the Southeastern Conference, Big 10, and the Pac-12 dominate recruiting, rightfully so, because they have the best shot of winning national championships and being looked at by pro scouts. So, of course, athletes are going to pick to Louisiana State University, Alabama, A&M, University of Southern California, Ohio State and Michigan for the best opportunity to go pro while playing in a top-notch program. If college athletes start getting paid, those top schools will be able to offer the most money to their players because they have the boosters and alumni to financially contribute. It would leave schools like Boise State and Fresno State unable to compete because players would forgo those universities for, say, Alabama who offered more money for athletic competition.
One aspect that has been overlooked is the fact that these athletes are getting amazing opportunities, not only for education, but after college as well. We all know the NCAA commercials “most college athletes go pro in something other than sports.” College athletes on scholarship are getting, roughly, a free college education that is worth a lot of money and a chance they might have never gotten if it were not for their athletic ability. A college athlete has a great opportunity to land a high-profile job right out of college because of the contacts they made with boosters and alumni throughout their college career. For example, an NFL career is no doubt in the future for Johnny Manzeil, but if he doesn’t make it or he doesn’t pan out, there is going to be an A&M alumni who will gladly hire Johnny “Football” for his sports management degree.
There is no arguing that college athletes bring in huge revenue for their schools, but all the perks for the athletes that go along with playing the game they love for a university and the connections they will make is payment enough.