Should College Athletes be Paid?

Devante Adams in college at Fresno State

Devante Adams in college at Fresno State

College athletes need to be paid to play sports for their school, allowing this could benefit the athletes in multiple ways. Unfortunately, NCAA rules does not allow them to receive gifts or any type of incentive other than rewards such as trophies, and plaques related to their sport. Anything other than this is considered an ‘‘extra benefit’’ by the NCAA. An extra benefit is anything that is not generally available to the student body or general public. So this means they cannot accept any gifts from relatives or close friends, even if someone sells a picture of an enrolled student-athlete could jeopardize their eligibility. 

Former Ohio State star defensive end Chase Young. He was suspended two games for accepting money from a family member. Image from

If student athletes were to be paid, it would eliminate the need for additional employment. It is not uncommon for athletes to find a job outside of their classroom and sport so that they have some money to spend. Many students don’t qualify for a scholarship. This forces them to pay their way while also participating in their sport as a walk-on, but paying them will allow them to focus on their athletics and sports without as many complications. If they were paid many athletes would not be as stressed out about tuition and college debt. 

Families would also benefit from their child being paid while playing sports in college. Student-athletes receive thousands of dollars in support from their families while they seek the college experience, but failing to abide by the NCAA rules and regulations can make someone ineligible to play. And unless there are grants, student loans, or scholarship funds available, the cost of attending school falls on the support system of the college student unless they obtain a chance to play at the professional level. Paying student athletes would become the equivalency or a work-study program and would allow them to have more freedom. 

Former Georgia standout halfback and now Atlanta Falcons halfback Todd Gurley, he was suspended for signing autographs for money. Picture from

This could also reduce corruption in college athletics, NCAA has different rules and regulations for institutions and coaches to follow so no corruption is in the sport. Every single year there are still many programs that are investigated because of their recruitment process. Some schools even pay cash bonuses to their best recruits to ensure they are willing to come play on scholarship for them.

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law the Fair Pay to Play Act on September 30, 2019. This act will allow college athletes in the state to hire agents and be paid for endorsements and receive incentives during their time at college. The students will be allowed to promote products and companies, and financially benefit from their college sport activities. This act will go into effect in 2023, hopefully this will start a domino effect and many states around the country will start allowing athletes to receive pay and endorsements while they’re in college. 

College students being paid would help not only them but the people surrounding and supporting them expeditiously.The Fair Pay to Play act was just the first of many steps to open the topic of college athletes being paid, and will be looked upon by many other states who are looking to make a change in college sports. Surely student-athletes will be paid to play soon enough and when this happens college sports will be affected greatly.