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Should College Athletes Be Paid? | Peter Hong

Should College Athletes Be Paid?

By Peter Hong

Chances are that you have heard of the recent Duke University freshman basketball sensation Zion Williamson. Some are calling him the next great generational player standing at approximately 6 feet 7 inches and weighing in at about 284 pounds. With Williamson’s superhuman jumping abilities and sheer dominance at the college level, the New Orleans Pelicans selected him as their first overall pick in this year’s NBA draft. However, his collegiate basketball season at Duke was cut to a halt when his left foot infamously exploded out of a pair of Nike branded basketball shoes during a significant game against the rival team North Carolina. Moreover, this widely covered incident left many to ponder about the thought-provoking question: should college athletes be paid?

To answer this controversial question about paying college athletes, one must first acknowledge both sides of the argument. On one hand, many people will argue that the amount of revenue generated through nationally televising games and selling tickets should force the governing body of collegiate athletics (NCAA) to pay their promising student athletes, who are the main attraction for the fans. In addition, college athletes dedicate significant portions of their daily schedules to practice their own respective sport. Furthermore, when college athletes competitively perform to the best of their capabilities, injuries are bound to occur. For instance, take the Zion Williamson incident. Less than a minute into the rival basketball game, Williamson injured his knee and ultimately risked his future career in the professional basketball realm. With the amount of dedication and risk that goes into being a college athlete, one can argue that the college athlete should be paid.

Contrarily, many will argue that paying collegiate level athletes will only cause chaos in the world of college sports. The dilemma of how much a specific athlete should be paid will arise and there will be even more questions raised about this particular issue alone. To begin, should all college athletes be paid the same amount? What if the athletes’ name or the games they are featured in are not nationally televised? What about the athletes who do not generate as much revenue as others? It would seem insane to pay an athlete who plays for a small division three college the same as a nationally televised athlete who plays for the biggest school. Thus, these are all concerning questions that will rise if college athletes are paid for their strenuous work. Many will also bring up the fact that most colleges will pay their athletes to attend their school and play a sport, compensating for any revenue that can be made using the athlete’s name.

After all, the age-old question as to whether or not college athletes should be paid will occasionally appear in talk shows and perhaps spark some different perspectives. Ultimately, one must consider the different sides to this argument and formulate an opinion themselves. 

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