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Pay-for-play Will Ruin the Game

College is a place to further a student’s education in sight of their future career. College is not however, and shouldn’t be, a place of work. Some people feel that college athletes should be paid. In reality, colleges are already paying most athletes through scholarships and stipends to go to their school. College athletes are losing sight in the value of a free education. As students from North high school transition into college, they should be aware of the underlying debate in the college sport world: should NCAA athletes be compensated beyond a scholarship?

On average, a full, in-state public school scholarship is worth $15,000 a year. Most college athletes are receiving this much money or more, and people are still saying that they don’t get paid. Several student athletes at North have already been offered scholarships to play at the college level. These scholarships granted to student athletes will cover their tuition and fees, books, room and board, supplies, and sometimes even their living expenses. On top of these benefits, most college athletes get free meals, which is just one more expense that is covered by the university.

A recent study from Georgetown University determined that, on average, college graduates earn $1 million more in earnings over their entire life than high school graduates. There is more value in a free education than currently perceived by student athletes. By earning a college degree, college athletes position themselves for potentially lucrative careers. Since they have the opportunity to receive a college degree for free, they will not have the burden of student loans or hardships on family members. In the long run, student athletes will have opportunities to make enough money to support themselves by having a college degree, and it is not essential that they get paid to play college sports.

By definition, amateurism is the practicing of an activity, in this case a sport, on an unpaid rather than a professional basis. The NCAA is currently defending its amateurism rules against critics who say that college athletes should be paid. Altering the amateurism rules already in place would lead to pay-for-play. According to the NCAA, this would fundamentally damage college sports and harm academic integration of athletes. The basis of college athletics is amateurism and pay-for-play would destroy this basis. The rules of amateurism give college athletes time to learn, develop and mature within an environment fueled by participating in sport for the love of the game. If the NCAA brings money into the equation, the sport will become nothing but business.

Some critics argue that college athletes should be paid. Since student athletes bring in so much revenue to their schools, some people think that the students should receive a portion of the profits. The athletes are the ones working hard on the court and field day in and day out. Although coaches might have a big effect on the team, it is really up to the athletes to perform. So why are coaches receiving bonuses for winning big games, when athletes are receiving nothing? Although these arguments are valid, the pros of paying college athletes simply do not outweigh the cons. College should be a time for exploration, finding yourself and having fun. By turning athletics into business for student athletes, the college experience would be ruined.

The basis of college athletics is amateurism. By moving to a pay-for-play model, it would be going against the foundation of what college athletics is based on. Most high school students play sports for the love of the game. If colleges start paying certain athletes, it will affect the mindsets of high school athletes as well. Students may stop playing for the love of the game and focus only on the sports that will make them a profit as they move into college. Scholarships are currently provided to recognize both athletic and academic successes of amature athletes. College athletes need to recognize the value in a free education. Having a college degree will allow the athlete to be successful whether they continue onto professional athletics or not. For these reasons, the current NCAA model should be kept intact and college athletes should not be paid.

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