Student athletes need to be paid to stop crime in NCAA


By John Burg ’20

In another sad and terrible time for college sports, the FBI began an investigation into bribery within men’s basketball at the collegiate level. Many coaches, along with Basketball Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino, have been fired because of their involvement in alleged payments to high school players. These players were allegedly offered bribes to attend different colleges in what the FBI is calling a “pay-to-play culture.”

I believe that the cause of these actions all go back to student athletes not getting paid. Student athletes have been deserving of pay for a while now because the amount of risks they are taking compared to the benefit the universities are receiving. Currently, the only way they get paid is through scholarships. A possible solution is to allow student athletes to accept endorsement deals from Adidas, Nike and Under Armour.

Everybody except for the student athletes are getting paid for their performance. The coaching staffs, the advertisers, the television networks, the universities and many more are cashing in week after week. Some high end coaches get paid millions. There are many downsides to being a student athlete as it is very difficult to balance the heavy work loads on and off the court. Despite the scholarship money, there aren’t many benefits.

The colleges and universities are making billions of dollars off the athletes, and athletes are getting none of the profit. For most of these students, sports and athletics are like two full time jobs and it’s very difficult to handle both. Some student athletes live with life-long injuries and some don’t even graduate. A free education is not worth much when you have an injury. The scholarship can get taken away and the student athlete may end up with nothing.

Student athletes don’t have many protections in their scholarship agreements. If they get injured outside games or practices they can get there scholarship taken away from them. The scholarships also restrict them from endorsement deals such as ads and video games, which is why scholarships are the only way for them to receive benefits.

Athletic companies realized that and are taking advantage of it. The athletic sport companies are getting involved by helping the colleges and universities pay for the athletic scholarships. If the athletes are allowed to get paid then these scandals wouldn’t exist. There wouldn’t be any need for under-the-table deals, athletic merchandisers would just negotiate the athlete and try to make a deal.

I believe that student athletes should be getting paid, but not through the NCAA as that becomes very complicated. I think that athletes should be able to make endorsement deals, making both the NCAA and the student athletes happy that they are sharing profits. This could impact players at the high school level, even those at Staples. The process for selecting a college would not solely be determined by the amount of scholarship money they receive.  If student athletes could also earn money while playing, the athletes would make decisions about going to college not only based on scholarship money therefore there college decision might be a better fit rather than the college that gives them the money. This in turn might push athletes to excel in their sport to be able to gain endorsement deals which would be a win-win for everyone.