Think College Athletes Should Not Be Paid


Think College Athletes Should Be Paid

Amid the NCAA bribery scandal involving the steering of athletes to specific colleges and agents which was revealed in an FBI investigation, NCAA President, Mark Emmert, last Tuesday during the NCAA’s 2018 Annual Convention after revealing he had set a commission to reform the sport said,

“People don’t want words, they want to see results from us,” he said. “They want to see action. They want to see us do things.”

The investigation that rocked college basketball confirmed what many already suspected was the case, by detailing specific incidents of bribery and corruption which led to 10 people being charged included four college basketball coaches as well as executives at the Adidas athletic apparel company.

The charges outlined by Joon H. Kim, acting United States attorney for the Southern District of New York included Adidas executives extending six-figure payments to recruits families in exchange for commitments to play with specific programs sponsored by Adidas as well as agreeing to sign with Adidas when and if they make it to the pros. According to Joon H. Kim, athletes and their families were paid as much as $150,000 dollars.

College sports rakes in major money, to the tune of billions of dollar.  Coach’s other athletic staff make salaries ranging anywhere from several hundreds of thousands of dollars – $11 million as seen in the chart below.

Top 10 Highest Paid NCAA Coaches according to USA Today
1 Alabama SEC Nick Saban $11,132,000 $11,132,000 $700,000 $550,000 $5,995,000 $26,900,000
2 Clemson ACC Dabo Swinney $8,504,600 $8,526,800 $1,000,000 $1,525,000 $5,725,000 $40,000,000
3 Michigan Big Ten Jim Harbaugh $7,004,000 $7,004,000 $1,325,000 $200,000 $5,645,000 $20,555,556
4 Ohio State Big Ten Urban Meyer $6,431,240 $6,431,240 $775,000 $300,000 $4,485,000 $21,345,100
5 Arizona Pac-12 Rich Rodriguez $5,631,563 $6,031,563 $2,025,000 $25,000 $2,730,000 $6,487,500
6 Florida State ACC Jimbo Fisher $5,700,000 $5,700,000 $1,475,000 $200,000 $4,691,000 $39,312,500
7 Stanford Pac-12 David Shaw $5,680,441 $5,680,441
8 Texas Big 12 Tom Herman $5,486,316 $5,486,316 $725,000 $4,600,000 $20,416,667
9 Texas Christian Big 12 Gary Patterson $5,104,077 $5,104,077
10 Texas A&M SEC Kevin Sumlin $5,000,000 $5,000,000 $1,050,000 $100,000 $4,818,000 $10,416,667


… See the full list of coaches salaries  HERE


With revelations of how colleges, coaches, agents and apparel companies are already paying athletes under the table anyway,  begs to perennial question, should college athletes be paid?  Is it fair that athletes are the only people within the college sports not being paid? 

In a 2011 interview with PBS, Andrew Zimbalist, Chairman of the Department of Economics and a Professor of Economics at Smith College and author of, “Unwinding Madness: What Went Wrong With College Sports and How To Fix It;” when asked how big is the business of college sports said,

“If you’re talking about the schools themselves and how much money they generate from providing these commercialized sports, … it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 billion a year to the schools themselves.  There are ancillary businesses. There are corporate partners who make profits over and above that sum. There are licensing companies that produce jerseys that fans might buy. … The $8 billion is looking at the schools themselves and what kind of money flows into them…”

While many Americans are open to compensating college athletes in some form, more prefer to see colleges continue to treat athletes as amateurs who compete primarily for love of the sport and educational opportunities. That’s according to a national survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute. More than twice as many people 71%, say that the focus of college sports should be opportunities to participate than the 30% that say the focus should be producing the highest level of play possible.

When asked whether student-athletes should be compensated beyond scholarships, 50% of Americans say they should not be further compensated, while 32% say they should be. Of that minority who are open to further compensation, less than half (48%) said athletes should be paid a stipend.  Ideas such as benefiting from merchandise sales, 43% of the people surveys say it is ok for players to work for pay while on scholarship.


Where do you stand?  Take the survey.

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Also, see the full press conference on NCAA/ College Basketball Coaches Charged with Fraud and Corruption below.