Every year before the sports season kicks off, a lot of hue and cry is raised on the topic. One can take two very different points of view on this, both of which are described below.
Simply speaking, dangling the carrot in front of them might simply improve the performance of the players. The best compensation the players get to today for all their work and their sweat is an athletic scholarship which just about covers their tuition fees. The hostel charges, the food and the necessaries remain unpaid for and yet, from the point of view of the athlete, these are pretty compelling factors given that purchasing equipment and keeping themselves fit must make up a pretty big chunk of their total expenses. The second pretty pertinent aspect in paying college athletes is to understand what these athletes are playing for? Just the scholarship? How about the revenues they generate? What about the scores of crowds they attract each year to the events? What about the sponsorship deals that goes straight to the coffers of the organizers? Should the college students not get even the smallest slice of the pie? Paying college athletes is not only fair to the athletes, but it is also a way to motivate them to play. After all, it is they who put on a great show for the viewers and attract the crowds there. It is because of them that the money is coming in.
But while we can talk about how the crowds gravitate towards the college sports events, it is really important to analyze which sports actually rake in the moolah. Cast your eye beyond the maddening popularity of basketball and football and you will see a desolate picture beyond it. Apart from the above mentioned two games that grab the eyeballs of all the people, the other sports are left with little money, if any, to pay perhaps even the tuition fees of its players. There are so many minority sports which barely attract any audience, and according to the rules, their lack of popularity ought not to affect the monies allotted to their players for their education. Hence with the extra money which does enter the vaults of the organizers by way of the more popular sports, there is obviously a need to look into paying for the scholarships of the players of sports which not too many people watch. So in that sense, it may not be plausible to pay money to college athletes. In fact, one could even argue that the college athletes get great exposure and attention from professional sporting bodies helping them make a good sports career, courtesy of the organizers of college games like the NCAA.
In conclusion on this debate on 'college students being paid for playing sports', I would like to say that college athletes do need to be paid some token amount for playing the games. Perhaps not the superstar salaries, but it does make good sense to pay the players some money for their efforts in popularizing college sports.