Conference Realignment: College Football Players Should Never Be Paid

Brad Berry@BradBerry4Correspondent IOctober 27, 2011

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Case McCoy #6 of the Texas Longhorns looks to pass against the Texas A&M Aggies in the second half of a game at Kyle Field on November 24, 2011 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
Darren Carroll/Getty Images

There is constant debate out in the blogosphere about why NCAA athletes, especially football players, should be paid. This topic has popped up recently because of the recent conference realignment in college football, there have in fact been some articles saying that the athletes should be paid as a result of the recent realignments. People in favor of paying athletes argue that since they play sports and the colleges profit off of their image and services, players should be paid.  That line of thinking assumes that all athletic programs are created equal.  Those that argue in favor of paying athletes also tend to only account for football. 

The first problem that paying athletes would cause is a possible violation of Title IX.  For those that might be unfamiliar with the law, it basically stipulates that all college athletes must be treated equally and that there is no discrimination based on gender. 

The impact of the law is that if a program pays football players a certain amount but does not pay women’s field hockey players the same amount, the school would be in violation of Title IX. So if all players were paid, that would ensure the end of collegiate sports, because paying all athletes would explode athletic budgets. 

The reality is that the vast majority of athletic programs are not profitable; typically they either break even or lose money.  Not every athletic program has the same resources as the University of Texas or Ohio State. 

The second problem with paying college athletes is that it would create recruiting arms races that would resemble the old Southwest Conference.  If players were paid, that would mean that smaller schools could never compete with the larger schools, since they would not be able to pay their players. 

That would mean Boise State would no longer be competitive in college athletics, since they are not exactly known to have the wealthiest athletic program.  For those schools that would try to compete with the larger schools, the costs of recruiting the athletes would inevitably result in the decimation of many athletic programs.  

The third problem with paying collegiate athletes money is that they are all ready being paid.  They are given a free college education.  So to pay athletes on top of their college education, keeping in mind that the average annual tuition at a public university is around $12,000 and at a private institution is around $30,000, would be inherently unfair to those students that have to pay their way through school, have crippling debt after college.

However, adjustments can be to the current system.  One solution to college athletes not having enough money is that they should be allowed to have paying jobs.  Having access jobs would enable athletes to have some extra cash, and schools would not be on the hook to pay for it, thus allowing them to probably be in line with Title IX. 

Besides, I thought people liked college sports because of the amateurism associated with collegiate athletics.  

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