Pay To Play Or Play For Pay

Tevyn Andrews

Bryan Gattozziz

GSW 1120

5 April 2011

Pay To Play Or Play For Pay

            The controversy of over-paid athletes seems to be brought up quite frequently in the sports world. However, when it comes to college athletes, should the same rules apply as in paychecks? Many question the fact if these young, college student-athletes should receive money for their talent. But, perhaps they are already being paid for their talent and skills, and their “paycheck” is going towards the most valuable asset in society today, education. The gist of everything is that universities are willing to pay for an athlete’s education worth thousands of dollars in return for their commitment. Numerous people would agree with this being a fair trade. But college athletes seem to want more. Audiences at games or events thriving to see young talent makes college athletes today think they deserve to be paid for what they’re doing for their university. Any mindset of a normal highly popular college athlete would agree with the fact they’re doing the same thing as professional athletes and the only difference in their lives are that they are still in school. What most scholarship athletes are forgetting about is that they are considered a “student-athlete” before anything, this meaning school comes before athletics. These student athletes should be worrying more about keeping their scholarship which is paying for a four-year college and giving them the opportunity to graduate debt free, rather than asking for more money all because of the amount of time and effort they contributed for a winning season. College athletes should not be paid under any circumstances because they receive a free education, they get privileges regular students don’t, and they have an opportunity to graduate debt free.

One reason why college athletes should not be paid is because when a student receives a full athletic scholarship their education is completely paid for. Alexander Wolff illustrates how much these athletes are worth and says, “We’re forgetting that big-time college athletes are compensated handsomely, with a chance to get an education worth as much as $120,000” (Wolff). College is expensive as it is and Wolff explains that each athlete has a chance to be educated for free worth as much as $120,000. Also, college athletes will get a free education worth this much and obviously not have to pay it back because of it being a scholarship. Graduating debt-free is unheard of these days when it comes to a regular student. Agreeing with Alexander Wolff, is Ayinde Waring the author of the article, Should College Athletes Be Paid To Play, and she clarifies Wolff’s claim of how college athletes have a chance for an education worth $120,000 by saying expects even think college athletes are already being paid, and she states, “Opinions vary among many experts as to why or why not players should be paid. Many cite that they are, in fact, paid – with a free education to institutions most could never afford” (Waring). In Waring’s quote she explains that most regular students won’t be able to afford how much a scholarship is really worth, and experts even think by giving college athletes the amount of money to pay for their education is the same as being paid.

A second reason adding to why college athletes should not be paid is because of the special privileges they can receive from the university just for being a student-athlete. Scholarship athletes are surrounded with teachers, coaches, and trainers throughout the university that make sure these athletes maintain their grade, are attending practices, and are making sure their bodies are fit and healthy. Average students getting the same education don’t have people within the university looking out for them to make sure they pass classes or to keep them fit. They are strictly there to learn. Many athletes do not realize how much a scholarship can benefit them for the amount of years they are there. Authors such as, Stephanie Sturgill do realize how much a scholarship benefits a student-athlete in college. She explains exactly they receive, “When athletes accept scholarships, they are provided tuition, books, meals, housing, and sometimes graduate assistantships. At some colleges and universities, such support may reach a value of $200,000 over a four-year period. Student-athletes may also receive special treatment when it comes to academic issues, for example priority scheduling, tutoring assistance, and excused absences. Aren’t student-athletes, then, well-compensated already?” (Sturgill). In this quotes Sturgill shows everything a student-athlete actually receives and obviously this quotes shows these athletes are not regular students. Steve Wieberg agrees with Stephanie Sturgill about how much a scholarship can do for a student athlete at a university by claiming, “The athletes have long gotten scholarships, of course. They also get, among other items, equipment and apparel, complimentary game admissions for family and friends, tutoring and other academic support. And the NCAA has been more lenient in allowing them to work” (Wieberg). Wieberg tells more about what universities and the NCAA allows scholarship athletes to have while attending that school under a scholarship to play a sport. This quote also shows that these student athletes do have special privileges that regular students do not have.

Another reason that goes along with why college athletes should not be paid is because they have an opportunity to graduate a four-year college debt free. There is an obvious significant difference between a regular student and a scholarship athlete when it comes to the amount of money they pay for a college education. Sandra Block shows how well a scholarship would benefit any student in college, “In 2004, nearly 8% of graduating seniors carried student loans of $40,000 or more, according to the Project on Student Debt, a non-profit advocacy group says Robert Shireman, director of the project” (Block). Therefore, most would agree with any scholarship would help and minimize the amount of debt a student falls into after graduating. To prove how much a scholarship would help, Jay Weiner and Steve Berkowitz state in their article, USA TODAY analysis finds $120K Value In Men’s Basketball Scholarship, that Butler University Forward, matt Howard says, “Forty thousand dollars-plus a year to play, that’s a pretty good salary for an 18-year-old that has no college education, if you think about it that way,” Howard said” (Weiner and Berkowitz). If most athletes thought this way there wouldn’t be a controversy if they should being paid, because realistically they already are being paid according to Howard. It almost seems as if the majority of scholarship athletes agreeing that they should be paid during college are ungrateful of the fact that they are receiving a free education.

CAà Disagreeing, college athletes believe they should be paid due to the amount of work they put in and the amount of revenue and popularity a university will receive because of student athletes. Realistically, when most people think of colleges, or see apparel being worn the first thing that comes to their mind is how that specific college did during their season. Nobody can tell anyone that whenever they see an Ohio State Sweatshirt, hat, or any advertisement of the buckeyes they do not think of Terrell Pryor, which just so happens to be the successful quarterback for Ohio State. Pryor and other successful athletes are one of the few reasons why Ohio State has became popular across the country when it comes to the sports world. As these college athletes transition into role models with the amount winning games they’ve had, some may question why they aren’t getting paid and one of the reasons why they should is because of how popular a school has become because of them. According to former Miami Hurricane safety, Charles Pharmes, “we go into the bookstore, and half of the stuff is memorabilia. A hurricane sweatshirt is $30 or $40 dollars. I helped make that shirt popular, but I can’t even afford it” (Wolff). Pharmes explains and is an example of how most big-time college athletes feel during their college career. Would this statement exist if college athletes had the money to buy a sweatshirt they helped make popular? Corey Sawyer, another former Miami Hurricane, agrees and says, “you work so hard to give to that program and you get nothing out of it . . .  The most you get out of it is a trip to the NFL” (Wolff).  Wolff shows the comparison in opinion between the two players (Pharmes and Sawyer) in how they basically want something more than a free education and fame throughout their college careers. Like Wolff explains the agreement with Pharrmes and Sawyer, Steve Wieberg shows Vince carter, the starting center for Oklahoma, feeling the same way and shares a similar statement by saying,  “Athletic scholarships go only so far, and money is tight. “Sometimes, it just doesn’t seem fair,” Carter says. “I’m at the No. 1 football school in the country right now, and I’m struggling to get groceries every month” (Wieberg). These two authors show agreement from players in how they struggle to buy and have basic needs/wants for an average college student. These players don’1 have enough money to buy simple things they want and are putting in four years of hard work to recieve money, which goes towards their education and not towards their pockets.

Rebuttalà It must be nice going to school without worrying about finances, tuition, or the cost of books and thinking all you do is go to class and continue participating in the sport these athletes love. Many would agree with the concept of these players standing out when it comes to athletics, but that is why they are at the university in the first place. Because these young athletes have had amazing high school careers, collegiate coaches are attracted to this talent. Therefore, they offer them a free education while they represent their school and bring their talent to the next level. These athletes obviously think that being recruited and going to school for a full scholarship means they become a celebrity and feel the need to ask for more than getting a free education. These student athletes are not professional athletes yet and many need to understand not every single one of them will be able to say they are a professional-athlete one day, therefore being grateful for a free education and graduating with a degree completely debt free means a lot to most, if not all students.

College athletes may feel slightly unappreciated by putting in all of their effort and not getting anything in return, but they don’t understand is that they are getting what is most valued today. College athletes are getting thousands of dollars put into their education while they put in hours on the field or court. The revenue and money these athletes bring in are they reason they are at the university they are at in the first place. They accepted their scholarship in return for an education, not fame or a paycheck. the reward they aren’t seeing is that they will graduate without any money issues, they have an opportunity to go professional in the sport one played in college, or they have a bright future with finding a well-paid job with the four-year degree one earned by giving their school their time, and commitment they promised by signing their letter of intent in the beginning of it all.

Works Cited

Block, Sandra. “In Debt before You Start –” News, Travel, Weather,

Entertainment, Sports, Technology, U.S. & World – 11 June

2006. Web. 06 Apr. 2011. <;.

Sturgill, Stephanie. “Should Student-Athletes Get Paid?” Comp. Steve Chen. United

States Sports Academy America’s Sports University. Abstract. Print.

Waring, Ayinde. “Should College Athletes Be Paid to Play?” 21 Sept. 2010. Web. 7 Apr.


Weiner, Jay, and Steve Berkowitz. “Howard: NCAA Compensation ‘pretty Good’ for 18.”

FanNation – The Republic of Sport. 29 Mar. 2011. Web. 06 Apr. 2011.



Steve, Wieberg. “NCAA’s extra funding benefits athletes.” USA Today n.d.: Academic

Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.

Wolff, Alexander. “An honest wage.” Sports Illustrated 80.21 (1994): 98.

Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 5 Apr. 2011.


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