college sports

Should College Athletes Be Paid?

One of the biggest questions surrounding the NCAA and college athletics in recent years has been whether or not college athletes should be paid. According to a survey conducted by College Pulse in 2019, over 50% of college students polled support compensating college athletes. With 460,000 athletes making a minimum $25,000 salary, this could easily cost over 11 billion dollars!

 A common misunderstanding surrounding college athletics is that athletes are already being paid.

Do College Athletes Get Paid?

Based on current NCAA rules, college athletes are unable to personally profit off of their name or likeness. This means that a college athlete cannot receive endorsement deals or sponsorships during their time as an NCAA athlete. The only money that college athletes are eligible to receive are scholarships and cost of attendance stipends from their university. The cost of attendance stipend was made legal by the NCAA in 2014 in order to allow universities to provide extra funding to student athletes to cover all tuition and attendance expenses. This ruling was made after several NCAA athletes mentioned that they would go to bed hungry because they did not have enough money to afford food.

Despite the fact that the NCAA has allowed athletes to receive extra funding, the question remains: Should college athletes be paid?

The Case for Paying College Athletes

 1. Being a Student Athlete is Like a Full-Time Job

It’s no secret that college athletes dedicate a good portion of their time to their sport. Whether it be training sessions, games, or media commitments, sources say that college athletes spend up to 40 hours a week (at least) on their sport. This is similar to working a full-time job while also attending classes and keeping up with school work. Since being an athlete requires quite a bit of time and energy, many athletes do not have time to work other jobs for money.

 2. Cost of Attending School Exceeds Scholarships

One of the biggest issues that college athletes face is finding the funds to pay for extra expenses. For quite a few athletes, the total cost of attending school exceeds the scholarship that they have been given. A large portion of student athletes come from low-income households meaning that it would be almost impossible to afford college without a scholarship. Since student athletes are limited in how they can be financially compensated during their collegiate career, many struggle to afford extra expenses that may arise.

3. Colleges and the NCAA Profit off of Athletes

Sports like college football and college basketball have become the financial backbone of many college athletic departments. In 2017, the NCAA grossed more than $970 million off of college athletics while student athletes received very minimal reimbursement. In 2014, the NCAA made it legal for schools in its Power 5 conferences (PAC-12, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and SEC) to give student athletes a stipend as compensation for their work. However, this rule was not mandatory and many athletes still struggle to make ends meet.

College Athletes Getting Paid: The Debate

The debate about student athletes getting paid has been fueled by comments from star athletes like LeBron James and Richard Sherman, as well as politicians like Bernie Sanders. Many of these individuals have expressed that it is crucial that the NCAA pay athletes because they are workers for their universities. 

Why College Athletes Should Not Be Paid

Despite the fact that there is a large number of people in favor of the NCAA paying athletes, there are quite a few individuals who still feel that college athletes should not be paid.

There are several points that have been made in support of the argument against paying college athletes. Many college and athletics administrators and NCAA officials have tried to argue that college athletics are about students playing other students. If college athletes were to be paid, that focus would shift to employees playing employees.

Additionally, there are several reasons why paying college athletes would cause disruption in the higher education system as a whole. A bill proposed to the California state legislature called the “Fair Pay to Play Act” would allow college athletes in California to make revenue off of their name and likeness. However, several NCAA officials have opposed this bill stating that it would allow California schools an unfair advantage. The president of the NCAA even suggested that schools who allowed athletes to benefit from this bill would be barred from competing in NCAA championships.

 At this given moment in time, the NCAA and higher education athletics departments would require a large restructuring within their organizations to monitor and regulate payment of athletes. The college sports landscape as a whole would require a complete restructuring to allow athletes to profit off of it. This is another reason why many are hesitant to move forward with regulations allowing student athletes to receive financial compensation beyond scholarships. Many feel that the consequences and hardships that might come from allowing this to happen would outweigh the potential benefits.

Why College Athletes Should be Paid

On the other side of the debate, many believe that college athletes should be paid because they should be allowed to profit off of their name and likeness. Advocates for the “Fair Pay to Play Act” and other initiatives in favor of paying college athletes suggest that while it might be a struggle initially, college athletes getting paid could be a legitimate enterprise. This enterprise could be used to benefit both college athletes and local businesses in college towns by allowing those athletes to receive promotions from businesses in exchange for endorsements.

 Think of it this way. What if an athlete like Joe Burrow – or any member of the LSU Championship team – could partner with a local restaurant in Baton Rouge in exchange for profit or free meals? Chances are the business would gain visibility and the athlete would also benefit from the exchange.

 Of course, paying college athletes would come with its own set of challenges, but many feel it’s time to correct the fundamental wrong that is profiting off of young athletes while preventing them from receiving any of that revenue. If fans are going to continue to enjoy college game days and expect top notch performances from college athletes, allowing college athletes to profit off of their name and likeness is something that will need to be considered. While the star football or basketball player may seem like a local celebrity, they’re still a young college student trying to make ends meet.

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The 10 Highest Paid College Coaches

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Some college coaches out there are rollin’ in the deep. Deep piles of money that is. Ever wonder how much your favorite coach makes? Some of these basketball and football coaches are worth enough zero’s to pay for your entire college education and beyond! Here’s the tip of the iceberg with the top 10 earners in college football and basketball.

10. Kirk Ferentz – University of Iowa – $5,783,000
Kirk Ferentz, head coach for University of Iowa football, rounds out the top ten college coaches salaries. Beginning his 14th year at Iowa, he’s won the Dave McClain Big Ten Coach of the Year award three times in just eight years, joining just a handful of other coaches in this honor, including the late Joe Paterno.

9. Brady Hoke – University of Michigan – $5,814,000
Brady Hoke, head football coach for University of Michigan, has over 29 years of coaching experience. Originally the defensive coach at Michigan, he was pivotal in the team’s three Big 10 Championships. Likely there will be more victories in his future.

8. Bobby Petrino – University of Arkansas – $5,976,600
Bobby Petrino, football coach for University of Arkansas, has been the big cheese for four seasons now and lead them to their first BCS appearance. Go Razorbacks!

7. Will Muschamp – University of Florida – $6,341,500
Will Muschamp, head football coach of University of Florida, comes in at number 7. The Gators’ head coach has a contract to remain with the school until at least 2016, posted a 7-6 record in his first season with the team, but they expect an even better second season.

6. Bob Stoops – University of Oklahoma – $6,767,700
Bob Stoops, head football coach of University of Oklahoma since 1999, has brought his team to 7 Big 12 Championships. He’s has 24 National Award winners and 2 Heisman Trophy winners—hence the large salary.

5. Rick Pitino – University of Louisville – $7,531,378
And we’ve got a head basketball coach making an appearance! Louisville’s Rick Pitino has been coach for 11 seasons, and he’s the only coach in history to take three different teams to the NCAA Final Four. He has 25 seasons under his belt as head coach for four different colleges.

4. Les Miles – Louisiana State University – $7,639,286
Les Miles takes fourth place. He’s the head football coach for Louisiana State University with 7 years of experience under his belt. He’s lead the team to their most successful seasons in the history of the program, including 75 victories, two SEC titles and a second trip to the BCS National Championships.

3. Gene Chizik – Auburn University – $7,696,450
Gene Chizik, head football coach for Auburn University, rounds out the top three earners in college sports. Coaching the team since 2009, he has led them to new heights, including a 14-0 2010 season and a BCS National Championship. Looks like he’s a champ in more ways than one.

2. Nick Saban – University of Alabama – $8,519,683
The runner-up is Nick Saban! The head football coach for the University of Alabama is certainly not hurting for cash. His salary makes him among the top highest paid football coaches ever, including those on a professional level.

1. Mack Brown – University of Texas – $8,810,300
The winner is Mack Brown! Head football coach for the University of Texas, he has been with the Longhorns for 15 seasons. It seems they really appreciate his dedication as he’s brought the team to high expectations, and even won several awards for being the best coach, including 2009 Big 12 Coach of the Year. Congratulations, Mr. Brown!

There are tons of college coaches out there for football and basketball whose salaries continue to creep up and up. These ten earners are worth big bucks, but they’re just a handful among a huge field of coaches.


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Unusual College Sports

College sports have come a long way from throwing a Frisbee around in the quad with your friend named Brad.  A college student’s schedule is, for the most part, very flexible and what better way to fill that time with some healthy outdoor activities?

Quidditch is one professionalized collegiate sport that is on the rise, figuratively.  This sport originated in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world in the Harry Potter series but has been reinvented for muggles (non-wizards).  The first with broomsticks took place in Middlebury, Vermont back in 2007 and since then the International Quidditch Association (or IQA) has grown to 78 teams nationwide.

Quidditch is played on a grass field with three Goal Hoops on either end.  The rules of the game are quite simple: each player must hold a broom between their legs at all times without the use of any artificial attachment.  The game begins with one red ball thrown to the opposing team.  If a player holding said ball is hit, they much drop the ball and run to their Goal Hoops before returning to play.  There is one white ball that is to be advanced down the field through running with the ball or passing.  There is one tennis ball used as “The Snitch” that is placed in a long sock and tucked into the back of the Snitch Runner’s shorts.  If any person catches designated Snitch runner, the game is ended and the points are added up.  Whichever team catches the snitch adds 50 points to their overall score.

If wizard games aren’t for you, outdoor recreation from backpacking and hiking to rock climbing (both indoor and outdoor) have been popular among collegians.  Many colleges embrace the environment around their campuses through outdoor clubs for students who are interested but weary of starting outdoor sports such as kayaking, canoeing, hiking, camping and such.

Slacklining is another sport that is on the rise.  If you have seen the Super Bowl half time show, you would have seen Andy Lewis’s incredible stunts.  Although not a professional game in the collegiate world, this hobby has been adopted mostly by the American West Coast.  The sport originated in the Yosemite Valley in California. This is a very minimalistic activity as the only equipment needed is the slack line itself. Slacklining is a test of balance.  A slackline, usually $40-$70, is stretched across two trees or poles.  The line’s tension can vary and be adjusted to the user.  A person can start by simply balancing on the line with both feet, then maybe one foot or try to walk across the line.  More advanced slackliners practice jumping or yoga moves on the line.

Disc golf is another sport that may soon become an NCAA sport.  Disc golf is exactly what it is named: it is the game of golf but instead of using a club and golf ball, a person is throwing a Frisbee.   There is a soaring number of disc golf clubs that have been forming on college campuses.  In 2010, 26 teams participated in a tournament in South Carolina.  Other states who are known in the disc golf realm are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Illinois.

So why can’t college kids just go to the court and shoot a basketball around or participate in traditional sports?  While standard sports are still very popular in college, these other sports can play out fantasies as in Quidditch; they can be practiced in small groups of friends; and they get you moving in a way that you might never have before.  It is proven that workouts are more efficient when disguised through fun activities.  So go out and play!


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