March Madness is just one collegiate sporting event that garners attention from fans all around the nation and grosses an insane amount of money for corporate sponsors, broadcasters and the NCAA itself, which makes about $6 billion annually.
With huge amounts of money being made off college sports, the athletes receive none of that money, sparking national debate on whether or not the players should be considered amateur any longer. Although the stars of the game are not seeing any of the revenue flowing into the NCAA, as a collegiate athlete, I believe athletes competing for the NCAA should not receive money because of pre-existing financial support, degradation of the purity of the game and difficulty of any compensation.
With the average national student debt reaching $28,400 per student, most collegiate athletes have it a lot easier than students at their school because most receive financial help in the form of scholarship, free room and board and stipends for books and/or other essential needs.
Although an actual paycheck may instill a sense of financial awareness into athletes, the help the players receive to represent a school competitively —especially those playing for schools who consistently bring home national championships —takes away most of the burden students who are not athletes shoulder when paying off their debts following graduation. With this said, if athletes were paid for their talent, the division between student and student-athlete will be further isolated, most likely creating unnecessary tension.
Passion is a fundamental influence on an athlete’s desire to play his or her sport. A majority of athletes hope to play as long as they can, but if a student-athlete is being paid for the efforts and contributions ohis or her team, they might feel like they have already accomplished a goal they have worked so hard to reach.
With this type of achievement, collegiate athletes may lose that spark and enthusiasm they once had because they may feel like they have reached the highest level.
Because inequality exists within collegiate sports, the question of whether or not student-athletes deserve a source of income brings about multiple difficulties. As a collegiate water polo player, I have first-hand witnessed the discrimination that exists within universities and the NCAA.
The only sports that prove to be profitable for colleges are football and men’s basketball, raising the question on whether these players should be the only collegiate athletes paid. Other questions of money also arise, such as where the money should come from, how much the athletes get paid and how often. These unanswered questions reveal how challenging it would be to change the collegiate athletic system to pay athletes.
Although student-athletes put their body at risk for the sake of their sport, the difficulties that would arise if an athlete gets paid for playing would outweigh the benefits. Collegiate athletes already receive enough financial support to make it through school, and the passion they have for the sport will slowly fade once they lose focus on their goals.
Athletes, colleges and the NCAA would be better off if athletes were not fed incomes.