Opinion: Student athletes should not be paid to play

There is a fine line between amateur and professional sports. Professional players work their way through school in order to score a career in sports. College athletes need to put in their time, too. Student athletes should not be paid to play. It is unfair, impractical and completely inessential.

It’s unfair because of how many of the various sports programs there are at universities. If the National Collegiate Athletic Association mostly focuses on paying football and basketball players, how are colleges able to fund other student athletic programs? Funding should have to be equally split through each sport. Even if all of the sports programs could afford to pay all of their players, it would be unfair to other types of programs that wouldn’t be getting paid. What about the cheerleaders, or the marching band? Many colleges cannot afford these costs, thus making it impractical.

Most universities and colleges have an allocated budget for sports programs, and whatever money is generated through that budget goes towards the coaches and the facilities they use. It’s also impractical to pay these student athletes because they are part of the student body. They should not be getting paid as if they were trained professionals — they are students first and athletes second.

It is absolutely inessential to pay student athletes for playing, as many already receive heavy amounts of scholarships or free tuition. This is the compensation they should be getting, rather than a paid salary. Student athletes also get paid in the experience of being a player — and playing can be a good resume booster.

I understand both sides of the argument. Student athletes work vigorously to maintain both an education and an athletic career. Former UCLA star quarterback Josh Rosen has discussed how it is not easy to balance the two.

“Look, football and school don’t go together. They just don’t. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs,” Rosen said. Time management is tested, and the stakes are high; you can’t play if you don’t keep the GPA up. It’s seems nearly impossible.

However, it is unnecessary and inappropriate to pay student athletes. Let them still be students while they can; it will give them more motivation to work hard in college so they can earn the real big bucks with the pros.

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