12 Primary Pros and Cons of Paying College Athletes

Thousands of fans gathering around to watch their favorite players and teams compete for the title of the “greatest”. Whatever sport it is—basketball, football, hockey, etc.—college teams are definitely becoming as huge as their professional counterparts. However, this of course comes with certain issues, particularly when it comes to the question whether college athletes should be paid for their performance.

Because college athletic programs are continuing to generate millions of dollars in revenue for schools, proponents for student-athletes are also pushing for schools to pay their players. Meanwhile, opponents stand that compensating athletes is potentially harmful to college sports. To gain a good insight about this subject, let us take a look at the pros and cons of paying college athletes.

List of Pros of Paying College Athletes

1. It is a good business.
The amount of money going around college games is massive, with sponsorships, advertisements and even video games generating money for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which is a non-profit organization that oversees all collegiate sport activities in the US and controls how they are managed among affiliated schools. This multi-billion dollar association provides outlines on which schools taking part should abide when offering and providing scholarships. Currently, the NCAA is providing limited compensation for athletes, while participant schools are receiving the bulk of the money earned from these athletic events.

2. It provides the needed income for student players.
College athletes are the ones going out to the field, putting their bodies on the line and winning games, and not the college, promoters and sponsors. With the huge amount of income generated by these athletic games, it should be a no brainer that these players, like their professional counterparts, deserve a piece of the pie. It goes beyond just playing well.

3. It encourages healthy students.
Physical sports, like basketball and football, are not for the weak. They are full of impact that can result to injuries, where many players, especially those who are playing for the major leagues, have been seriously hurt at any point during games and even practices. If this were to happen, their shot at the major leagues will be compromised, so they will be encouraged to be physically fit the most to be able to secure their future.

4. It attracts talent.
Colleges that are willing to pay for their athletes would attract more talented and better athletes. This would definitely benefit everyone involved.

5. It can stop corruption.
College athletes would be often drawn into corruption by agents and boosters who are willing to bribe them to play for other schools. This is a problem within the college sports community that is likely to be eliminated if college athletes were paid.

6. Its profits would be evenly distributed throughout the school’s needs.
A common issue in this debate is where the money is going. Many people believe that it is more deserving and righteous that earnings from TV networks running the games should go back into the schools as a whole and not to the individual players. Then, the money would be disbursed evenly throughout the school, resulting to lower tuition rates and improved school programs.

List of Cons of Paying College Athletes

1. It might put a student’s education at the back seat.
Coupled with creating fair standards for compensation, education should be prioritized for these college athletes. And with the hectic schedules for practice and actual games, their study might be affected. Also, there is an issue on equal pay among players in different divisions. For example, would a school under Division I have to pay the same as other athletes who are under lower divisions?

2. It pays players in a different way.
Critics argue that college athletes might not be paid with money, but instead paid with exposure. Many of these players would go on to play for major leagues, such as the NFL, and would make millions of dollars. The main reason for this involves their exposure and play time in college. Along with exposure, they are also given a major amount of grants and scholarships for their education.

3. Its system could unfairly burden smaller colleges.
Smaller colleges that might not have the strength financially as their bigger counterparts might be burdened from funding their teams, leading to a great gap between divisions as bigger and more endowed schools can offer greater financial compensation. This would result to monopoly of athletic talents causing lower-end schools to struggle.

4. Its programs might experience budget problems.
Many schools are using their money earned from collegiate sports for re-investments and balancing their budgets. If they had to start paying players, the most probable result would be other programs suffering. They might risk cutting certain campus needs and degrading campus quality.

5. It might create problems among peers.
If college athletes are receiving pay checks from playing sports for their respective schools, other students might feel a great deal of animosity and envy. Along with having their schooling paid for, it would seem very unfair in the eyes of others.

6. It would open up a brand new slate of lawsuits as it is virtually impossible to have an across the board pay scale.
A good example of this is female athletes suing because of lower pay than their male counterparts. Also, those who are gaining more game time and scoring more points would be arguing for higher wages than their teammates. These prove that paying college athletes opens the door to multiple problems that would eventually hinder athletes from taking their studies properly, while their games would possibly set them up for failures in the future.


There is a lot of variables to consider when it comes to paying college athletes for playing sports. Arguments about this subject would continue for many years to come, and whether you support it or not, the end result will have a long lasting effect on not just the schools, but also even those who do not take part in it.

About the Author
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.