Haiden Widener, Campus Carrier Sports Editor
The NCAA generates millions of dollars every year from athletic revenue. A question that comes up every year among fans and analysts is, should NCAA athletes get paid? With Clemson winning the national title last week, the topic is again on the hot seat. While most Division 1 schools are in debt because of athletics, I don’t think that any athlete deserves to be paid.
In Division 1 and Division 2 schools many athletes go to school for free. Their education and room and board fees are all being paid for, for all four years. At a school like Alabama that’s over $100,000 over the course of four years. Having your school paid for and being able to use the amazing facilities your college has is enough payment.
It doesn’t make sense for athletes to get paid for something that is not yet their career. While these athletes are working towards making their sport their career, they aren’t there yet. I understand that with classes, homework, practices and games, being a college athlete is like having a full time job. But that is what you sign up for when you become a student-athlete. This isn’t something that they are blindsided with; athletes know that they are making this kind of commitment well ahead of time.
According to ESPN, out of 120 Division 1 schools, the least amount of athletic revenue that a school generated was $8.3 million dollars from Arkansas State. Alabama generated the the highest amount: $123.7 million. With all of this money being generated, it should be used to better the school as a whole. Since this money comes from athletics, it should first be used to better their facilities, buy new equipment, new game gear, etc. But after athletics are good to go, it should be used to better other facilities around the campus to better the all around experience for all students instead of only the athletes.
While big Division I schools such as Alabama make a lot of money through football, their other sports don’t generate nearly as much revenue for the school. Football is the main reason that schools of this magnitude make money through athletics.
Out of 340 Divison I schools, only 23 athletic departments generate enough revenue to cover their expenses, according to the New York Times. This means that 317 schools are in debt because of athletics.
With these statistics showing that there is no money, my question for those who think that these athletes should get paid is, who is going to pay them?
The schools obviously don’t have enough money to pay hundreds of athletes if they cannot cover their own athletic expenses. This would mean that the schools would have to ask donors for money for the funds, or pull the money from other departments of the school. Neither of these seem like very logical solutions.
If donors were to supply the money, each school would be paying athletes a different amount of money. This would then persuade athletes to pick schools where they would be getting paid more, which essentially would eliminate competition at the collegiate level.
Many people are unaware that large schools such as Texas A&M, Michigan and LSU are millions of dollars in debt due to athletics. Their great facilities, equipment and travel plans come at a great cost. This cost is worth it to big universities so that they can compete on a national level and get the media exposure to gain more students and athletes.
All of these things bring some type of benefit to the schools. Paying athletes is not beneficial to them and will only hurt them. So while fans, sports analysts and others continue to push for athletes to get paid, they should be asked, “are you willing to pay them out of your own pocket?”