The idea of college players making money sounds great. It sounds fair, it sounds just and, heck, it sounds like the American way. But look at the big picture — at the entire spectrum of college athletics — and the idea of paying college athletes is illogical.
When most people think of paying college athletes, they think of football and basketball, the only two mainstream college sports in America. They think of the images — the huge stadiums, the thousands upon thousands of people cheering, etc. — and think, “The players don’t get any of this money? But they’re doing all the work!”
That has some validity, but the truth of the matter is that most colleges don’t make huge amounts of money from their athletic programs. So paying every college athlete in the nation would probably force most programs into bankruptcy.
For example, do you think North Florida is making the same amount of cash as the University of Florida? No. This, of course, brings up another problem: Should players from different programs make money based on how much their respective programs bring in? This brings up yet another problem: Would players choose to go to schools based on how much money that school makes? Pretty soon, athletic departments would skip tours of facilities and interviews with coaches and just present players’ salaries compared to other universities.
Switching gears, paying players would ruin the tradition and the nostalgia of college athletics. You can ask most sports fans; they prefer the college brand of their favorite sport compared to the professional version. Paying college athletes would, in effect, make college players professional. Payment would kill mainstream amateur sports in this country. And all we would be left with would be the Little League World Series and the Olympics every two years. That’s not enough for me.
After all, competition is best when motivated by passion, not by a paycheck.