College-Student Athletes should not be paid

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The debate as to whether student athletes should be paid or not has really heated up in recent years. With it being college football bowl season right now, it can be assumed the topic will again come up. While I respect the time, work and excitement college athletes bring this time of year, they should not be paid. However, they should be compensated.

For a student athlete, a scholarship is their compensation and one they should be grateful for. Basically they receive a free education and in return they represent their school in their respected sport. These athletes do not have to worry about student loans, paying for textbooks, the cost of on-campus living or a meal plan that many of us do.

According to Institute for College Access & Success, here in Utah 54 percent of students leave school with an average debt of $18,921, which is quite low compared to the rest of the country. That’s still a big debt for anyone to have over their head when joining the work force.

When you look at it that way, anyone would be happy to give four years of his or her life if it means not taking on that hardship.

Another problem as I see it, is how do universities decide the significance of each sport? You couldn’t justify paying the swim team the same as the football or basketball teams; they do not bring in crowds or revenue like the big sports do. That would open up a whole new can of worms on fairness that no athletic director wants to open. They may work just as hard; so shouldn’t they be paid the same? No.

There is just way too much gray area when it comes to paying the different athletes. The issue becomes even greater for schools in smaller conferences like the Western Athletic Conference, which Utah Valley is a member of. For the most part these conferences would crumble or at least have to drop many of it less revenue-producing sports. The same goes for Division II or III athletics. Why shouldn’t these athletes be paid the same if they practice and play just as hard as the bigger schools?

People who are a proponent for paying student athletes need to ask themselves: where will the money to pay come from? Are they willing to start paying more taxes? No. Are they willing to pay more for tickets or concessions? Again, no.

College is a place for people to obtain a degree and spur their “real world” aspirations. College is not a place for athletes to get paid, that’s why the professional level exists. Nobody forces athletes to sign scholarship offers, nor is there a fence around universities forcing you to stay, if athletes are unhappy with their compensation they are more then free to leave.