A topic debated among many in the college sports world is whether student-athletes should be paid for the revenue they bring in to their universities.
A recent report titled “The Price of Poverty in Big Time Sports” by the National College Players Association calculated what would happen if college sports shared their revenue the same way professional sports do.
Based on the revenues reported by major college athletics programs, the group determined that the average football bowl subdivision player would be worth $121,000 a year and the average college basketball player would be worth $265,000 a year.
The study also found that the average scholarship shortfall – out-of-pocket expenses needed to make ends meet – of the average full scholarship athlete is $3,222 per year.
And yet at the University of La Verne, which is a Division III school with a different sports revenue structure, the notion of paying athletes to play is not terribly enticing.
A survey of non-athletes, student-athletes and athletic personnel at the University of La Verne show that seven out of 10 believe that college athletes should not be paid.
“It lessens the educational experience,” Athletic Director Julie Kline said. “It would tear the fabric of amateur sports to the core and all that it stands for. Participation in intercollegiate athletics is a privilege, not a right.”
Others here say it would devalue the meaning of the student-athlete.
“At the end of the day, if we pay them, you aren’t considering them student-athletes anymore,” saud women’s soccer coach Lauryn Pehanich said.
“It takes away from the competitive aspect of the sport, winning, and actually earning something,” said Lindsey Foster, junior small forward of the women’s basketball team.
Some student-athletes believe paying players will also cause issues beyond the competitive aspect.
“I think that the athletes might use money for the wrong reasons,” said Madeline Lovrenksy, sophomore women’s water polo player. “They might not care as much about school.”
Pehanich said the problem with paying college athletes is not all athletes will receive the same amount of money in a paycheck.
Conflicts will arise if starters get paid more than players that come off the bench.
“I was once a student-athlete and I played because I loved the game,” Pehanich said. “There wasn’t any type of monetary funds that would’ve caused me to play harder, or not to play.”
It was just a handfull of non-student athletes on campus who said they thought college athletes deserve some sort of payment.
“I think it should almost be like a work-study job,” junior psychology major Marc Diaz said. “Often times they come from low-income families and they need some type of income. Being a college student is not cheap.”
Diaz says that the payment should be the same for every athlete to prevent discrimination. Other non-athletes say that the payment should not be performance based.
“I think the only way college athletes should be paid is for any merchandise or video games,” junior business administration major Michael Kierns said.
“If there is a picture on a poster, or jersey of a recognizable player, then they should get paid, even if it doesn’t have their name on it,” he said.
Julian Mininsohn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.