paying student athletes turns college sports into a profession

What is the one thing that unites people all over the country, despite race, beliefs, and age? College sports. We dedicate an entire day of the week, Saturday, to college football. We set aside the entire month of March for basketball. It can often be difficult to fathom the amount of money made through these sports. When one begins to grasp the amount of money college sports produce, it can lead to one of the hottest topics of the day: Should college athletes be paid? Because college is an educational institue above all things, these athletes should not be receiving cash money.

By taking a deep look into college sports, a person could see just how important they are to the institution. Number one, sports are a key source of income and number two, they attract students. Universities depend on their athletes to produce and maintain the popularity of their school’s name. College athletes bring in millions of dollars of income for the school, while students barely have money to put gas in their car. A number of athletes argue that it is reasonable to for them to receive a portion of this big money back. Just this year, Forbes announced that Texas A&M was the most valuable team in college, generating $148 million in just two years. While the college profits impeccably, many of their athletes are struggling. Since college athletes spend so much time practicing and being away for games, they do not have spare time to get a job. Many athletes face the challenge of buying necessities and sometimes to even eat. Athletes and other people who have experienced these difficulties believe a solution would be to pay these hard-working athletes.

Although there are some positives to paying college athletes, the bad outweighs the good in this slippery slope argument. For starters, athletes are already receiving money through scholarship. It is no secret that many, or most, colleges cost a pretty penny. The average yearly tuition at a public college is $9,970 and private college is $34,740. These college athletes are receiving money through their scholarship and other ‘student-athlete perks’, such as free tutors. Clearly, the athletes will not have extra cash to spend on whatever they please. However, education is considered one of the most valuable gifts a person can obtain. Is the promise of a paid education not enough for these student athletes? No matter how much it is argued, college sports are not a profession, but a stepping stone for a higher education.

The next argument brings up the topic of responsibility. This debate has one extremely important factor: we’re talking about 18-22 year olds. A large percentage of these athletes are not mature enough to handle this money responsibly. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, the male brain is not fully mature until age 25, and female’s are not mature until 21. This information can be used as evidence that these athletes are not ready to manage these large amounts of money. A large bulk of these athletes are still teenagers. With no one to guide their financial decisions or tell them not to buy the fancy watch or shiny cars, this could quickly end in disaster. A salary would give students a direct allowance to drugs, alcohol, and other things that could ruin one’s career.

To continue, many of these athletes searching for six-digit figures do not realize the effects paying them will have. When choosing a college, almost all athletes put the facilities, coaches and other factors such as these into play. They do not understand that buy paying the athletes will directly take money out of other areas. No more having several uniforms and shoes or the brand new facilities. There would also be pay cuts for the legendary coaches that many schools need in order to keep recruits coming.

Unfair payments between different players and different sports would only create more problems. It is nearly impossible to pay all of these athletes the same amounts or even make a way of distribution that makes things fair. For example, let’s take a look at the men’s basketball and soccer team at Duke University. In the 2013-2014 season, Duke men’s basketball generated $27 million in revenue according to Business Insider. On the flip side, I could not find a reliable source that told the amount of profit made from Duke’s soccer team. This provides the question that would be brought up in an instant: By what means will we pay the athletes by? It is obvious that basketball and football will provide the most money to the institution, but one must remember the other sports, such as track, soccer, baseball, cross country. Dividing money evenly would create conflicts with the higher money-making sports. A plan to equally pay everyone would leave the athletes with very little money anyway because there are so many different teams that contain so many different athletes.

The other option would be to pay like professionals. This route creates many new problems, starting with the fact that there is no point of college sports if they are the exact same at professional sports. If schools begin paying athletes, they are no longer amateurs. Amateurism began in the nineteenth century in American Universities to create more competitive sports and events. It took no time for the athletes to “grow in popularity and develop into a massive commercial enterprise”(Crabb 1). For sometime, the NCAA was able to shut down these challenging athletes, but with the media of today, the topic has made its way news headlines and magazine covers.

The last drawback is the fact that once college athletes are paid, sports become less about cheering fans, screaming coaches, and the beating of drums. The rivalries would be gone, the spirit would be dead, and college sports would be viewed as another event that is only about money. Many Americans favor college over professional sports because the purity of college. In professional sports, most athletes have the ‘money motive’. College athletics bring out special passion from athletes that people hunger for. Once money becomes the main focus of the athletes, we will see a lazy and half-hearted effort we often witness in professional sports.

In conclusion, the more money involved, the more passion and love for college sports will be affected. In many ways, money takes away from the purity of sports. The argument’s main root comes from selfishness and greed taught by professional sports. It is important to keep cash out of college athletes hands to keep the passion and competitive spirit alive. Paying student athletes turns college sports into a profession instead of a learning experience, and it turns young athletes into a product to bid on.

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