Debate surrounds the NCAA on whether or not to pay student athletes


In a poll of 56 students, a majority disagreed with athletes receiving pay in college. This action has not taken place yet because of issues surrounding the topic.

College level athletes of Division I and II schools often receive an amazing opportunity of a cheaper or even free education. This money comes from the school and goes to athletic teams for the athletes’ classes, textbooks, uniforms, equipment, meals, etc. However, some believe that this isn’t enough for the athlete’s effort.

Duke basketball star Zion Williamson sparked this controversial subject again with his size on the court and in Duke’s paycheck. The money from jerseys and the souvenirs that schools sell of teams and players does not go to the individual players, but the school as a whole.

“I feel like they work as hard as the professionals and colleges are making money off of them,” junior Austin Liebgott said.

The idea of a paid student athlete goes against a lot of rules; which is why this has not been enacted yet. The NCAA’s rule of Amateurism in athletes is very strict. Some ways to cease one’s NCAA Eligibility are by accepting payments or preferential benefits for playing sports, accepting prize money above your expenses, accepting benefits from an agent or prospective agent or agreeing to be represented by an agent. Doing any of these can end a student athlete’s college career.

“Colleges only pay athletes to stay because of the revenue that their presence on the court, on the field and in the arena brings to the school,” Mckenzie Tippett said.

Tippett views the idea of athletic payment as reversing the roles of professor and student. She also is against the fact that this is mainly brought up by men’s basketball. Tippett does not see the point of this for basketball as most “natural talent” players like Williamson take one year of college and the immediately go to the NBA to make money.

“The desire to pay college athletes is hopefully going to die out,” Tippett said.

If athletes were to be paid, another dilemma still stands on who will pay them. The college or university is already paying for their scholarships and the NCAA would have to rewrite it’s rules to pay the athletes.

“I think the NCAA should because they are the organization that is getting money for college sports,” Liebgott said. “The college is not only about athletics, (it has to pay) for academics too.”

But there’s another problem; will every college athlete be paid?

“How do you determine which athlete will be paid and which ones you don’t?” softball head coach Michael Everett said.”Is it going to be across the board that every athlete gets paid?”

Everett also brings up the valid point of how athletes of sports other than football and basketball, that bring less money to the school, can be paid.

“No one has come out with a plan that says who determines who gets the money and how much,” Coach Everett said. “Other than that, I don’t have a problem with it.”

Both Tippett and Everett along with many others, as seen in the poll above, see that a free education can be enough.

“Money that is not given to students that is not scholarship, loan or grant money is basically giving them a source of income to attend class,” Tippett said.

It’s not only the scholarship granted, it’s all the benefits that come with college athletics.

“(The athletes) are also getting a meal plan different than the average student, a workout area, living arrangements, that no one else at the school is given, and they have tutors that are paid for,” Everett said.

The idea of paying athletes at an amateur level can be beneficial, but the issues of where the money will come from and who will it got to will likely never be resolved. It’s difficult and unjust to pay only a few star athletes and leave the rest in the dust. However, the “dust” is still filled with more benefits and opportunities than the average student has.

“It makes the great educational establishments of our country look weak, as athlete salaries give the athlete power,” Tippett said.