College Athletes Should be Paid

Skylar Jones

According to the official website of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA),, of the estimated 1,006,013 high school students that participate in high school football, 73,712 go on to play in the NCAA 2.9% which is about 2,137.65, play for division 1 teams. Of the 540,769 high school basketball participants about 5407 players go on to play for division 1 schools. It is no surprise that these two sports are the most revenue producing collegiate sports.

            The University of Texas at Austin is home to more than 51,000 students, with about 690 student-athletes. According to, during the 2015-2016 school year the athletic department made a total of $187,981,158 in revenue and spent $171,394,287. Some of these expenses came from athletic scholarships, recruiting, and over $24,000,000 on coaching salaries. They made this money back from ticket sales and other things such as NCAA/conference distributions. 

            It’s no surprise that the Longhorn’s football program made the most out of the teams. With a revenue of $127,876,986, why are people so against these athletes getting paid? Prior to NIL’s (name, image, and likeness) athletes were unable to, and even now there is still a lot of restrictions.

            The average cost at a 4-year institution in America is $35,331. At the University of Texas at Austin it is about $40,032. Although a lot of athletes are on scholarship, they generate much more money than they are awarded. With coaches receiving millions of dollars, colleges athletes, who also risk their health, and depending on the school, their mental health, it wouldn’t hurt for them to receive more in return.

            So why do some people feel athletes shouldn’t paid? For starters there wouldn’t be enough money to pay each athlete equally. Some sports generate millions of dollars in revenue for their schools, while others lose money. In addition, some people feel paying athletes would put schools at a disadvantage. Bigger schools, such as Division 1 powerhouses, would be able to offer athletes more, swaying them from smaller, less fortunate universities.

Opting not to comply with NCAA conditions for YouTube channel, UCF's Donald  De La Haye ruled ineligible

            Although top athletes tend to be on scholarship, in addition to being a student, they are essentially working part-time jobs. Between practices and other sport-related events, athletes devote at least 20 hours per week to their team, besides the workouts they do on their own. 

            Prior to NIL’s, which can be understood from this video , NCAA rules and regulations regarding accepting money and gifts are somewhat a blur. Before NIL’s many teenage athletes were forced to choose between going professional or playing collegiate sports, solely due to them possibly earning hard-earned money. Jordyn Wieber, a member of the 2012 Olympic gold winning team was towards the height of her career when the then teenager was forced to choose between accepting money and pursuing many business opportunities or remaining eligible for the UCLA Bruins.  Ultimately, she decided to waive her eligibility.

            Other athletes have been faced with similar problems from the NCAA as well. Donald De La Haye Jr. lived a double life as “Deestroying“ on YouTube. The former University of Central Florida football player brought attention to the NCAA rules after being deemed ineligible due to the money he received from his channel. Although he was given conditions to follow to remain eligible, he found them unfair and refused to accept. Why should athletes be forced to decline hard earned money, especially if it doesn’t relate to their school or sport?

            That is the question that many begged before the NCAA finally decided to change their rules. NIL’s have opened the door for many college athletes. Paige Bueckers of the University of Connecticut Huskies is one of the athletes that is able to cash in on her success. With partnerships with major companies like Gatorade and Stockx the young star is looking to earn $1 million a year.

            This new rule also allows Olympic gymnast who won gold like Jordyn Wieber to compete on the collegiate level. Not only does Sunisa Lee get to compete with the Tigers of Auburn University, but the all-around gold medalist also gets to rake in on her NIL deals. Although the NCAA intended to help these athletes with their rules, they seem to have done a good amount of damage to deserving students like Jordyn Wieber, and Donald De La Haye, who have both seemed to move on from competing in collegiate sports.

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