The Day for College Athletes to be Paid is Coming

Old cover from a Sports Illustrated magazine

Paying college athletes has been debated for decades. Proponents of the idea cite the millions of dollars college athletics bring to a university. Opponents point out the thousands of dollars athletes don’t have to pay on their education due to their scholarships. It probably won’t be next season, and probably not even the season after that, but the day is coming where college athletes will be paid. Personally, I’m for paying college athletes. They bring in way more money for their universities than the cost of their scholarships. They are basically free walking advertisements for their universities. Their schools sell their jerseys, tickets to their games, and sign huge TV contracts to showcase their talents, and the players don’t see a dime of that money

However, my biggest qualm about paying players is what it will do to recruiting. I fear that recruiting will no longer be about what coach the player likes best, or which school’s environment they think is right for them. We could see a day where high school kids just sign with the highest bidder, and don’t consider any of the traditional factors when deciding where they want to play college ball.

The only way I think a pay for play scheme could work for college basketball is if all the schools worked together and came across a reasonable number that works for everyone. Now obviously, major conferences, such as the ACC, Big10, and Big 12, could pay players more than mid-major conferences, but I think it still works if conferences that are of the same ilk can agree to a reasonable maximum and minimum to pay its players.

Between the countless hours that college basketball players put in during practice, the weight room, the film room, and the classroom, it is unrealistic to expect them to be able to work too. They need to be paid so that they can buy themselves clothes, or cleaning products for their houses, or even just to have spending money to participate in the college atmosphere like the rest of their peers at their universities. If done properly, paying players would be the right thing for college basketball to do.