Just as March Madness, the biggest college tournament that pits the best Division I basketball teams against each other, has ended, the debate of whether or not college athletes deserve a paycheck for the performance continues.
The argument mostly stems from those who believe that the NCAA is using the players to make money by having them play on sponsored television broadcasts and raking in tons of cash but not throwing any of it towards the players. Not to mention that NCAA rules restrict athletes from being in commercials, accepting money that they might have won at an event outside of the season and taking part in sponsorships. Athletes cannot even accept money from signing autographs, free meals and other amenities.
At times, this can be seen as severe because of how serious the NCAA takes these kinds of “offenses.” Players who break these rules tend to be punished by not being allowed to compete in their sporting events, having to pay fines and even losing their scholarships.
But there are some that do not believe that athletes should be paid and that athletes should enjoy playing the sport over worrying if a paycheck is coming their way. Being an athlete myself, I have found myself falling into the latter part of the debate. Throughout my college athlete career, I have never found myself questioning whether or not I deserved money after performing well at a meet. Rather I focused much more on getting better in my sport and working with my teammates better.
Not that getting paid for my performance would not be beneficial for me, but there are plenty of perks that student athletes have that do not involve payment. Athletes, especially those who play Division I and II sports, have plenty of opportunities to have financial gain in college sports. Some athletes have opportunities to earn scholarships so that they can go to college for less money than the average student, get free equipment and team clothing they do not have to pay for and they can also have the ability to register for classes earlier so that they can make their practice schedule. Athletes also tend to get paid in “meal money” at their events so that they can eat while they are there.
Athletes voluntarily play sports too; it is not a requirement to play sports in college so there is really no one making or using us to make money. Athletes come to college to play sports because it is what they love doing and they want to improve their skills. So athletes really are not entitled to some kind of payment just because they won some game or performed in some tournament.
With more tournaments and this debate of college athletes getting paid most likely coming up in the future again and again, people should look into what being a college athlete should be.
Is it about playing the sport they love and feeling honored to play for their school? Or is it about being compensated for their performance?