CT Speaks: Should College Athletes be Paid?

Strutting onto the field before the game, the varsity football players look determined - jaws set and eyes focused. Many high school players dream of an opportunity to play Division 1 in college, but how will this new idea shift the process? 
Photo by Thomas Wynne

Strutting onto the field before the game, the varsity football players look determined - jaws set and eyes focused. Many high school players dream of an opportunity to play Division 1 in college, but how will this new idea shift the process? Photo by Thomas Wynne

Laura Slater, Website Editor

In the age of growing technology, hype, and prestige surrounding college athletics, especially Division 1 football and basketball, the question of salary has come to the front lines. Some believe that the upper-level athletes deserve to be paid the way professional athletes are, while others disagree. Many questions still remain about the logistics of a ‘salary’ for a college player, but the idea has been circulating in discussions across the country. Is it fair? Do they deserve it? These are just the tip of the iceberg for a much larger issue.

Plenty of our own athletes have strong opinions about the idea. “I don’t think college athletes should have salaries,” said girls cross country captain Soonhee Han (12). “They should be focusing on college and their education. I think that with the extra money, athletes can become distracted,” she added. On the surface, the question of whether or not may seem straightforward, but it’s more complex than it seems. The advocates argue that the athletes are putting their bodies on the line to perform for their college, which is worthy of payment, or that when the college or university uses the athlete in marketing tools it should be required that they are paid. Yet others argue that it is a matter of skill – if the athletes perform at that level, it is salary worthy. Some aren’t convinced.

“I think it’s a bit ridiculous,” said boys cross country captain Bryson Sutterby (12). “I understand where you are coming from but if you really want money for your name being used work hard to get to that next level in the NFL. You aren’t there at college just to get paid…you are there for school,” Sutterby added.

Not all of the athletes in the community share Sutterby and Han’s view, however. “If a college athlete’s name is going to be used in the same way as a professional player’s then why not pay them at least half of the professional salary,” varsity football player Donovan Swift (12) said. “I think college athletes work just as hard if not harder,” said Swift. The idea that sports should take the place of a job for the college students who play at that level only further complicates the issue and the fairness of payment.

There are two sides to every coin, and it seems the answer to this question won’t be coming anytime soon. For now, it is simply an idea, and whether it is put into action in the near future still remains to be seen.

Do you think college athletes should be paid?

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