Issue: There is an ongoing debate on whether college athletes should be paid for their sports performance instead of providing scholarships.
Position: College athletes should not be provided additional money for their work.
- Premise 1. College athletes should not be paid because this will create a barrier between sports and studies, making students lack educational opportunities.
- Premise 2. Paying wages to athletes will be an additional legal and administrative obligation to the university and students, making it an unnecessary and costly transition.
- Premise 3. College athletes should not be paid because other extracurricular activities of equal importance will suffer.
The First Argument
Firstly, college athletes should not be paid because this will create a barrier between sports and studies, making students lack educational opportunities. The initial goal of sport-oriented scholarships is to allow teenagers gifted in sports to enhance their capabilities further to become professionals while also dedicating time to formal and academic education. Providing college athletes with the status of workers and paying them will create a distinction between education and sports ambitions since both activities will have drastically different purposes instead of being equal. Furthermore, if someone gets paid for the activity they like, it becomes less enjoyable. Therefore, if students become paid workers, they are less likely to pursue a professional career in a related field. They will view sports activities merely as a way to make money rather than an ambitious hobby to become a lifetime career.
In the current situation when college athletes receive a scholarship that covers their tuition in full or partially, these students are less likely to engage in an educational environment and reach high academic achievements. This phenomenon can be explained by the fact that these students focus all their efforts and attention on their hobbies. For instance, even if a student who is also a basketball player is engaged in class, he is more likely to spend his free time training for the upcoming games rather than research and study. It is also necessary to note that college athletes do not have enough time for school since their role requires them to leave the classroom to attend competitions and other events. In case their position becomes paid, these factors can be further enhanced since employees will need to dedicate more time to their work duties. Given all the aforementioned points into consideration, it is safe to say that college athletes should not be paid since it disrupts both their professional and academic development.
The Second Argument
Paying wages to athletes will be an additional legal and administrative obligation to the university and students, making it an unnecessary and costly transition. If basketball or football players become paid professionals, the university will have to hire them officially. More specifically, if colleges switch to monetary compensation for college athletes instead of providing financial support through scholarships and housing benefits, their wages would be subjected to taxation. Since the kind of work they perform has not been clearly defined in legal terms, it remains a grey area from the administration, accounting, and managerial perspectives. If wages that students receive will be subjected to taxes, the actual amount of financial compensation would most likely not be enough to cover the tuition, housing, and other living costs. All the money that the college athletes will receive in the form of wages will go to the aforementioned expenses in either case. Thus, it is safe to assume that the current scholarship compensation system is more efficient since it is not subjected to taxation.
Another aspect of paying college athletes that should be considered is the lack of financial management skills that will disrupt their quality of life. Many students, especially in the starting stages of their education, have little to no experience in managing their funds. In case scholarship covers all the essential aspects of a student’s life, college athletes do not have to tackle financial management issues. However, in the case of receiving salaries, they will have to distribute their money independently. There is a chance that some people will be unable to allocate their funds appropriately, which will result in additional stress, lack of time, and loss of productivity.
The Third Argument
College athletes should not be paid because other extracurricular activities of equal importance will suffer. Each college, depending on its specialization, has several student initiatives that can be funded and granted. For instance, in a college with a Visual Arts department, students can represent their University and faculty in art competitions, fairs, and festivals. Similar to college athletes, they generate profit for their educational institution, either in the form of media exposure or income for the winning places. Another example could be college publications practicing journalism on campus. Students perform the job duties of regular reporters while combining their professional careers with studies. Media attention and winning journalism competitions regionally and nationwide also does not grant them the opportunity to receive wages. Despite bringing similar value to the educational institution while enhancing their curriculum-related skills, people involved in those initiatives are not entitled to the benefits sport’s players receive in terms of tuition and housing. Following that rationale, college athletes should not qualify for receiving salaries as well.
More than that, it is essential to address the privilege that college athletes have as opposed to other students involved in extracurricular activities. The college admission process, as well as scholarships and grants, are not usually offered to other activities except sports. The current system allows sportspeople to receive tuition-free education, save money on meal plans, and receive discounted housing. These perks are assumed for college athletes, while members of other club activities of comparatively similar value have to apply and actively seek opportunities to reduce their financial burden of education. If college athletes received additional payment in wages and regular salaries, fewer grants would be available for supporting other extracurricular activities, community initiatives, and volunteer campaigns.
Lastly, it is necessary to acknowledge the lack of rationale for differentiating college athletes as workers above other gifted students. Referring back to the examples given above, college-centered activities such as arts and journalism can be considered parts of the curriculum. As opposed to these cases, sports are rarely related to the student’s studies at the university. More often than not, college athletes favor a professional sports career over their degree. Thus, it feels unnecessary for universities to give more explicit privileges and employ college athletes as legitimate workers if their activity does not directly support the educational institution’s goals. While basketball and football events heavily rely on college players to generate income by ticket sales, reputation, media exposure, and diversifying the student body, sports should not be the main focus of educational funding.