64 reasons college athletes need to be paid

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers reacts after his teams 44-16 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers reacts after his teams 44-16 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The debate over whether to pay student-athletes is no longer a debate: College athletes should be paid.

To pay or not to pay? That is the (multi-)million dollar question for college athletics. Should student-athletes be paid for their work, or is the value of an education enough of an incentive for what they bring to their universities?

While there’s a legitimate argument to be had about the best, fairest most equal system of payment, there’s no good argument that no student-athletes should be financially compensated for their work.

The reasons are plentiful, so in honor of March Madness, we listed 64 of the best.

1. College athletics generates billions in revenue and none goes to the revenue-generators.

2. Colleges shouldn’t be a free minor league for pro sports.

3. Being a college athlete is a 40-plus hour a week commitment.

4. NCAA corporate offices shouldn’t look like something from a Trump resort.

5. The term “student-athlete” is a farce when you’re pulled from classes to play your sport.

6. Athletes have their social media monitored for no good reason.

7. 25 college football teams profited more than $30 million.

8. Coaches salaries are closing in on eight figures.

9. Coaches can leave without penalty, but players have to sit out a year when transferring.

10. Zion Williamson could be the No. 1 pick out of high school but NBA rules made him go to college and risk injury.

11. Trevor Lawrence could be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft today but has to play for free for two more years at Clemson and risk career-threatening injury.

12. Athletic programs shouldn’t be the primary advertising tool for a school.

13. Coaches are the highest-paid public employees in most states.

14. Successful sports programs boost the school’s reputation and bring in more applications.

15. College presidents know better and should act ethically.

16. Football likely shortens your life span and shouldn’t be done for free.

17. Players should learn about real finance at an early age, so they don’t go broke.

18. Athletes don’t have to take money from shady business people.

19. The NCAA can profit off a player’s likeness and name, but the player can’t.

20. Because there’s a bylaw that says it’s only okay for a player to make money off their likeness for non-athletic reasons and only if they signed a modeling contract in high school.

21. Michigan State makes an average of $17,674,958 from college basketball.

22. UNC makes an average $21,174,115 of from college basketball.

23. Kentucky makes an average of $27,965,227 from college basketball.

24. Syracuse makes an average of $29,322,084 from college basketball.

25. Duke makes an average of $33,067,995 from college basketball.

26. Louisville had a three-year average profit of $43,960,492 from college basketball.

26. Scholarships are often not enough to keep athletes fed.

27. Being a student-athlete prevents players from having the time to get a job so they can pay for food.

28. Student-athletes are providing goods or services.

29. They’re getting paid anyway.

30. Reggie Bush wouldn’t have had to forfeit his Heisman.

31. Student-athletes wouldn’t be punished for eating pasta.

32. Eric Crouch wouldn’t be in hot water for eating a ham sandwich.

33. Maybe college sports could become ethical.

34. A scholarship doesn’t help you pay your cell phone bill.

35. A scholarship doesn’t help you keep the lights on in your apartment.

36. A scholarship doesn’t put gas in the car so you can visit your family.

37. The NCAA still follows rules from 1906 when it was founded. It’s archaic. Get with the times.

38. Todd Gurley wouldn’t be suspended for signing autographs.

39. A.J. Green wouldn’t be suspended for selling his jersey.

40. Ohio State’s Tattoogate wouldn’t have been a thing that cost Jim Tressel his job.

41. Average Joe’s make more cash betting on the games than the actual players. That’s dumb.

42. Scholarships are often revoked/pulled after a serious injury; paying athletes protects them.

43. Adidas officials wouldn’t go to jail for trying to send players to specific schools.

44. Put yourself in their shoes, you wouldn’t go to your job without financial compensation as Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger pointed out so eloquently.

45. Athletes would be free to sign endorsement deals and boost their brand (and the schools).

46. Rick Pitino could finally come back to America.

47. John Calipari can finally get a good night’s sleep.

48. So SMU can be seen for the trailblazer it really is.

49. Bag Men can get away with their shady dealings with implied protection by the institutions; it’s the players who suffer when caught.

50. So we can watch Tim Tebow pitch H.S. kids on Florida with a briefcase of cash.

51. Having coaches tell you what’s best for your future is nauseating.

52. College athletes also generate revenue for the school as being recruiting tools when the programs are winning — not just for other athletes but for students as well. They’re advertisers and should be compensated for that work.

53. So the historical record would reflect who actually won instead of having wins and championships “erased.”

54. It could potentially keep some players in school longer helping them get their degree and raising the quality of the game.

55. Not paying players reinforces and entrenches problematic racial and class dynamics.

56. Pro-league age limits and a lack of pay in college means high-level athletes literally have a span of time where they have no way to use their skills to support themselves.

57. Professionalizing talent development increases the quality of the sport.

58. Managing money is a life skill that colleges should be helping students with.

59. The NBA/NFL/etc. won’t be able to pretend this has nothing to do with them.

60. When you have to go to court to define what “amateurism” means, it’s a sign the definition is bologna.

61.  Being forced to major in something you don’t want to study is not an education.

62. LeBron, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, Dwight Howard, etc. If you’re good, college doesn’t help.

63. This is America, no one should be forced to do something against their will.

64. We wouldn’t have to keep having this same conversation about paying athletes.

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