Athletic scholarships sufficiently compensate football players

Meredith Aldis | Broadcast Reporter

I do not believe that college football players should be paid.

Access to a college degree has a direct impact on a person’s quality of life. A 2013 study by The College Board shows that the median lifetime earnings of bachelor’s degree recipients are 65 percent higher than those of high school graduates, and NCAA research shows 15 percent of Division I student athletes are first-generation college students.

I consider the athletic scholarship that football players receive to be their compensation in return for representing their school. They made the decision to sign up to be an athlete and comply with NCAA rules with the knowledge of getting national and international exposure during competition and sometimes even personal situations. Athletes who receive scholarships on the football team –– meaning those who are not walk-ons –– receive full athletic scholarships. A full athletic scholarship is valued at about $59,000. This scholarship includes room, board and books, among other things.

Because their scholarships cover all of that, they do not have to worry about student loans, paying for textbooks, the cost of on-campus living and meal plans like many regular students and even other athletes have to worry about. According to The Institute for College Access and Success, seven in 10 seniors, or 68 percent, who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2015 had student loan debt. The average debt is $30,100 per person.

On top of receiving scholarships that cover all of those costs, athletes basically receive an entire wardrobe. Football players receive team gear, including but not limited to tennis shoes, workout clothes and clothes to travel in. Student athletes also receive academic support such as technology, free tutoring and athlete-focused academic advisers. They also receive catered snacks and have access to dietitians and nutritionists.

Football players have opportunities by being student athletes that regular students don’t have. For example, football players have the opportunity to travel across the country for games. The travel alone is costly and paid for and these experiences can open help athletes receive exposure and open doors for potential professional play.

If football players and potentially other college athletes were to get paid, there are many questions that would have to be answered. Would all athletes be paid the same amount? Would it be on the basis of incentive? For example, if a wide receiver catches the winning touchdown, would they get paid more than a player who sat on the bench the entire game? Because football and men’s basketball are the main revenue-producing sports at most colleges, would they be paid more than other athletes? Every student athlete complies with the same rules and usually works out and practices around the same amount of hours, so what makes one athlete from one sport more valuable than an athlete from a different sport? What about Division II and Division III athletes, would they be paid the same amount as Division I athletes?

If college football players did get paid, what would keep them motivated to get a degree? I believe that most would want to focus on football and not school work, so they could enter the NFL draft to continue to get paid. The odds of being drafted are very slim. According to, “For college seniors, there are nearly 16,000 looking for an opportunity to play professional football. However, the average amount of NCAA athletes drafted to the NFL is 254. That’s 1.6 percent.” Many football players wouldn’t have a backup plan if they didn’t get drafted because they didn’t focus on getting a good degree and learning skills other than football.

College football players should not get paid because they have most expenses for their college experience completely paid for, it wouldn’t be fair to other teams and players may not be as motivated to get their degree.