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Getting paid with a diploma

Story by Nathan Navida


College athletes are considered some of the luckiest people in the world. They get to play the sport they love while getting a high quality education.

With so much surrounding college athletes every week, people are surprised that they aren’t getting paid. College football games are treated with as much importance as professionals in the NFL (National Football League) so why shouldn’t they get paid?

Besides working towards the professional level, every athlete wants the opportunity to play in a national championship.

A national championship in college sports is the closest they can get to something similar to the Super Bowl or the NBA Finals. There’s almost as much hype leading up to and surrounding a championship like the Rose Bowl for college football.

Take a look at how much media coverage there is on the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) game for college football. According to a report by ESPN (Entertainment and Sports Programming Network), last year’s BCS game between Georgia and Alabama peaked at over 30 million viewers. ESPN reported that there were 77 thousand in attendance at the game which is 10 thousand more in attendance than the Super Bowl last year between the Patriots and Eagles.

Despite the fact that college athletes aren’t able to sign big contracts worth millions of dollars like in the NFL, nearly all of them are under a scholarship which pays them to play and get a high quality education.

This is why college athletes don’t complain that much about not being paid. Sure, they’re constantly being covered by the media and a lot of money is actually being made off of them but scholarships are why they’re there in the first place.

In a 2016 CBS Sports interview, former Mississippi State football star Jay Hughes said, “I see a lot of guys who don’t have the opportunities that they need to go out and look for jobs or develop themselves for a career besides just being an athlete.”

Exactly how much is a full ride scholarship to a big division one school in college ? If you were to look at Ohio State, one of the best college football schools in the country, the average full time undergraduate student athlete is given over $18 thousand according to their financial aid information. Keep in mind that many student athletes are out of state students because coaches recruit from everywhere. With that said, average tuition cost alone for out of state students going to Ohio State is over $28 thousand.

College is not the place for student athletes to think that they can make six figure salaries and be set for life. If we were to start paying college athletes even five figure salaries a year, the purpose of college for many people would shift from being a place to receive high quality education towards more of a career oriented environment.

Student athletes need to understand that getting a degree from a college is one of the best things to do for their own future because not all of them will be able to play professionally.

According to a report by Business Insider, only 1.7 percent of college football players are drafted into the professional level. So for the other 98.3 percent of college football players, being able to attain a solid degree in a strong area of study is very important for their life past athletics.

Another problem that arises with the idea of paying college athletes is that college institutions no matter how big or small they are would not be able to afford paying college athletes. They have to fund so many other things such as facilities, faculty, and scholarships.

While a lot of money is being made surrounding big college athletes, the money doesn’t go to the school. The money goes directly to big companies like Allstate or Capital One who put their names on giant bowl games for football. While football and basketball are the two sports that have the biggest reputations, there are many other sports that institutions would have to deal with those athletes getting paid.


With all of the things that come with competing at the highest level of college athleticism, student athletes are already being compensated for their efforts through scholarships. There’s no need to pay them like professionals.

Young college athletes who come to one day compete in a national championship and leave an institution with a diploma and degree in hand deserve nothing more and nothing less.


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Getting paid with a diploma