Pay for Play

Every year in collegiate athletics there is a new wave of student-athletes that enter their college campus with hopes of earning a degree, and of course being a great athlete. From the start of their college careers, athletes are logging long hours in the classroom, practice, study hall, traveling, and social events. In many ways you can think being a college athlete is similar to a job, but there is no pay. In most cases athletes do get refund checks from their university, but is a check supposed to last a full semester? Universities around the world make millions of dollars off of student-athletes whether it’s advertisement, jersey sales, or using an athletes name in general. The players of these universities will not see a single penny of the revenue that their university profits from off of their name. Athletes are trying to balance school work with the demanding dedication playing a college sport requires. In cases an athlete won’t be done with a day of classes and practice until 8 p.m., and after that they have to study and do homework just like regular students. Does this sound like a job? A job without pay can be labeled as slavery. 

Time flashes forward and a student-athlete has spent their refund check before the semester is over, and is living day to day off cafeteria food because they have zero dollars in their pocket. 

Time flashes forward and a student athlete is faced with a decision of buying gas for their car or buying food with their last few dollars. Moments pass, and that same student athlete has a decision of making money illegally or continuing to walk around broke. 

As time flashes, why does a student-athlete have to face the harsh reality that they are just pawns in a system that uses their talent to profit off? Each year there are student-athletes that become ineligible because they chose to accept money from outside sources, and cases of athletes being arrested due to illegal activity. Activity like Jameis Winston, the former Heisman Trophy winner stealing crab legs from a super market. Why does a student-athlete have to go down the wrong path to earn money if their university they’re playing for is earning a ton of revenue off of their jersey sale? The realization of college athletics being a business is well-known, and student-athletes are unpaid employees. So next time you see a student-athlete on ESPN for being suspended due to NCAA infractions, ask yourself… Would I have accepted the money if I was broke? 

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