DEBATE: Should student athletes be paid to play?


Sophomore Fred VanVleet was named 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year Tuesday. “The way the season worked out I just had to take more of a role and be more of a force on both ends of the floor for us,” he said.

This month, California lawmakers proposed a bill that would allow NCAA student athletes in the state to maintain NCAA eligibility while making money off of their names and likenesses.

The NCAA has called the proposal “unconstitutional,” arguing that states lack the jurisdiction to grant student athletes these rights. The organization has also sent a letter to the state threatening that if the bill ends up being signed, then all 58 California NCAA-sanctioned schools will be disbarred from the NCAA.

South Carolina lawmakers have now started talks about introducing a similar bill in the future.

Here are the cases for and against letting athletes profit off their college careers.


I’m with the athletes

Although student athletes get a scholarship and money for housing, that doesn’t equate to much, considering the profit they turn for the NCAA.

For example, athletes such as Zion Williamson and Trevor Lawerence are basically getting robbed. The fact that Williamson was unable to profit off his image or likeness is absurd, considering the amount of viewership he brought in not only to Duke, but the NCAA as a whole. Millions tuned in every game just to watch Williamson and his Blue Devil teammates. If the university or the NCAA can make a profit, why not the athlete?

With the amount of time and effort that Williamson puts in his schoolwork and practice time, he should be able to make some sort of profit as a student athlete. Because athletes have to put in so much time to make the university look good on the sporting end, they aren’t allowed to have a full-time job like other students.

To be fair, I’m not saying every athlete should get paid — just the special ones. In recent years, players including Michael Porter Jr. and Darius Garland have suffered injuries that severely hurt their draft stock and the total money that they would have earned had they gone pro.

If both the NCAA and professional sporting leagues would agree that athletes could forego their college, it would guard against collegiate injuries and insure that athletes see at least some profit in their career.

This practice has been implemented before, including for Lebron James and Kevin Garnett, who entered the NBA right out of high school. Their careers might have ended up much differently if they were unable to skip college.

Now, some high schoolers are having to go overseas just because they will not be able to make a profit playing in the U.S.

By paying these athletes, it would lessen the current investigations going into these universities that may be paying current student athletes anyways. The fact that these game-changing athletes are unable to make anything but a scholarship is ridiculous.

If I’m getting paid to write about collegiate athletes, they also deserve to get paid.

-Sean Marty, Reporter


I’m with Tebow

In all honesty, this bill is not the way to fix the issue. In all honesty, I believe student athletes are already getting paid enough with their incentives.

Student athletes have the life. If they are paying for college, it’s not much compared to the normal student on campus. Heck, I’d love to be able to go to college for practically free because of the sport I’d be playing. But no, I’m taking out loans that I’ll have to pay for throughout the future years — something these complaining athletes don’t necessarily have to do.

Many of these kids are able to get a free education, but some still don’t see that as advantage enough. In a sense, it’s all about lack of passion these days. Remember Tim Tebow? Well, he’s been in the news again, getting blasted for defending the NCAA’s stance on this bill. This rebuke confuses me to the core.

I’m with Tebow on this one. He stated that we live in a “selfish culture” today, which I agree with. Passing this bill would ruin college athletics because it’d create unfair recruiting advantages. This “we” culture of college sports would immediately shift into an “I” culture.

Even though this bill doesn’t imply the schools themselves, the most popular schools would be getting the better athletes because the bigger merchandising companies would want the bigger-name schools.Do you want the same school’s winning national titles every year? No, neither do I. Take the NFL or NBA for example — having the same teams appear in championships year after year takes away from the atmosphere of the game itself. And that statement is coming from a Patriots fan.

Lastly, this bill will inevitably spark up the gender equality debate again. Women deserve to be able to profit off of their names just as much as their male counterparts, but these companies will largely focus their endorsements on football and men’s basketball, the NCAA’s money-makers. Therefore the bill they call the “Fair Pay to Play Act” isn’t actually all that fair at all.

In conclusion, greedy athletes in general need to appreciate what they have before they make a push for pay. Athletes already get so much more than the normal student — partial/full tuition (for non-walk-ons), free apparel, free room and board, free meal plans, free books, and so much more. Really appreciate what you have, because some of us other students would really like to be in your shoes.

-Marshall Sunner, Sports Editor