NCAA Sports: Pay for Play – Should College Athletes Be Paid?

Cam and Cecil Newton

Pay for play. The debate over paying college athletes has increased significantly over the years. Auburn has mountains of evidence regarding paying players throughout their history. National Championship-winning Jim Tressel was forced to step down this offseason after not properly monitoring his players improprieties. Steve Spurrier has even announced that he is willing to pay $300 to each player for each game, out of his own pocket.

Today, I will be providing an argument against paying college athletes. As a college student myself, I understand the financial difficulties that entail living expenses. I do NOT believe that college student-athletes should get paid for many reasons.

“I need money to send back home”

This is probably the most heard excuse that is used by the student-athletes that are caught. This explanation bears very little meaning and tries to promote family necessity as reasons for doing improprieties. However, if extra monetary help was absolutely necessary, then that financial aid is available in the form of a FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid).

As a beneficiary of the FAFSA program myself, I can attest to the fact that school tuition, books and rooming can easily be paid off with Grants and Loans alone. This program is highly beneficial to families that don’t have financial backings and is based solely off financial needs. There are not any requirements to apply. This program also stacks grants/loans with any scholarships that a student may have earned.

Graduation Rates

Student-Athletes actually graduate at a higher rate than the general student population. This provides them with an opportunity to double their lifetime earnings. Also, there are over 400,000 student athletes most of which “will go pro in something other than sports”.  More often than not,  pay for play advocates disregard the value of a bachelor’s degree and focus on the “money being made off of these athletes”, which brings me to my next point.

Sport Profitability

The strongest argument for pay for play is the idea that schools are making enormous amounts of money off of their student-athletes, which is entirely untrue. Only two dozen schools in Division I sports actually post a profit (More revenue than expenses incurred). So while the media focuses on the revenue of the miniscule number of teams actually posting profit, they have garnered the interest of America to pay these student-athletes.

On top of this fact, only 30% of  Div I Football teams and only 26% of Div I Basketball teams post PROFIT.


There is no strong evidence for paying athletes in college, only advocates that are pushing the issue. Always remember to ask questions and don’t take anyone’s word for the absolute truth (including my own, of course). I can guarantee that there are plenty of pay for play advocates that can debate this issue very well, however the factual information is not there.

The fact of the matter is that there is always money available for those in financial need while in college.

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Arkansas born and bred. Season Ticket Holder for 12 Years. I am an Arkansas Alum that received an undergraduate and graduate degree for Information Systems.

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