Pay College Athletes

I had an English professor who felt athletes should be able to major in their sport, to major in football. She didn’t like being pressured to let certain athletes get by without doing certain required things or having to find grad-student tutors or even having to teach, basically, English for Dummies when the class itself should not exist.

No student-athlete should go to a school where where they cannot compete scholastically. If most of the top football players are comparative dummies then the community colleges should be kicking the shit out of Notre Dame in football. The athletes still go to school, they are more likely to succeed in their classes without special treatment, and they still get noticed and drafted into the pros if they are good enough. This mismatching of student-athletes with high-level academics is about money for the big school, so money is the problem.


The way to sort out the money problem is to pay the athletes. Every athlete on a team should get an equal share of the net income of their sport and the coaches should be paid exclusively by the school apart from the sport income. When athletes go to a school where they can compete in the classroom and not be taken advantage of financially by the school, we no longer need scholarships for non-scholarship reasons. The good athletes go to the good sports school which is easier academically and their pay to play provides them money for their education. And just because they are playing for the school, why do they need to necessarily attend classes? WHY? This could be the professional minor leagues.

A computer major gets paid for tending the computer lab at school. A business major is not forbidden from making money in business outside the university. Shackles and slave labor best describe the predicament of student-athletes. Athletes are forbidden any sort of pay or compensation to maintain the purity of the sport. This purity has to do with point-shaving scandals and gambling. Fuck Vegas. Fuck the point spread. These athletes should be paid all the revenue they produce, they should be able to take money from boosters, they should be allowed all the advantages of living in a capitalist society and if they win and shave points then so what? If Las Vegas and organized crime and law enforcement don’t like athletes being paid then this unholy trinity encapsulating the bizarre forces of capitalism should be the ones paying the athletes. Let those who stand to lose be those to invest in keeping their precious status quo. Forbidding any student to make money, athlete or not, is an absolute outrage.


Sports shouldn’t be part of any school at any grade level. There should not be a gym class where it’s time to play dodgeball so the overgrown bully now gets a free pass to fire a soccer ball at the face of your little snowflake. A lot of things should not be part of school and many things lacking should, but I will address that another day.

For now, athletes should not get scholarships, they should not get any help in classes not available to any other student, and they should get the money they generate directly into their pocket — all of it.

3 thoughts on “Pay College Athletes

  1. I agree. A friend has the idea that the athletes get the money when they finish school and the coach can get no more than the President of the school or top academic salarie… Whichever is lower.

  2. I appreciate your candor and incisive analysis. I propose a more modest proposal. The big-time athletes (NCAA-I schools) should certainly be paid for their monetary value to the school. Going to class should be optional (something that could be deducted from their pay).

    As for lesser-known programs (Division 2 & 3), I propose we scale back the money spent (and generated on the programs and continue to offer scholarships (at least partial). I say this having been the roommate of a starting football player who really did use his scholarship to his advantage. He majored in Political Science and Business at a competitive Liberal Arts school, and asked for help when he fell behind (largely because of the time commitment he had to devote to football). He is now a successful businessman and well-rounded student of life.

    Anyway, good post. I’m glad we’ve connected.

    • I am glad we connected as well. The issue here is more complex and I am knee-jerk reacting to bowl season and the status quo. If I were to recreate the entire academic and athletic worlds in my own image things would be as much different in kind as degree.

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