Opinion: Should college athletes be compensated?


Kent Kirker is a junior education major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.  Contact him at [email protected].

Kent Kirker

Last Wednesday, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Northwestern University football players are technically considered employees of the university and therefore have the right to unionize.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a strong supporter of unions and the right to form a union but college athletes? That’s going a little too far.

College students are amateur athletes, not professionals. They are given a scholarship to an institution of higher education, and their primary focus should be their academic studies. You are not here to make money. You are here to get an education and better yourself, first and foremost, in order to get a job and make good money in the future.

There are those who argue that universities garner so much revenue from the performance of the their student athletes and that students should get a cut of the money made from the exploitation of their name; however, all Division I Football Bowl Subdivision schools, in which Kent State is included, are allowed 85 scholarships per year. These scholarships add up to about $2 million or more.

According to Forbes.com, the average college football scholarship for in-state students adds up to $100,000 during a four year period $147,000 for out-of-state students during the same period.

If you do the math and multiply the amount of time for an average game by the number of games on an average college schedule — lets say 13 —multiplied by four years multiplied by the national minimum wage of $7.25, you get roughly $1,121.

Then if you take the number of hours spent in practice and training — lets say 10 — multiplied by the amount of days taking part in practice — lets say 100 per year — multiplied by the national minimum wage once again, you get $7,250.

Even with these figures added together, this sum is considerably less than what athletes receive in an

athletic scholarship.

This is not even taking into account the cost of equipment, meal or travel expenses.

If we do start paying student athletes as employees, what will prevent this type of thing from spreading to other sports and eventually even leaking into high school sports?

College athletes should play for the love and fun of the game, not to get paid. What would be the point of getting a scholarship or an education for that matter?

In the long run, college athletes should not unionize or be paid as employees of their universities, as they are not.  This will lead to a vast amount of problems while their attention should be on their education and improving themselves mentally and physically.

If college athletes are meant to play professionally, then that will come in time. Until then, they should enjoy their time in college, spend time with their teammates and take advantage of the essentially free education they have been given instead of taking advantage of the system.