Top 10 Reasons College Football Players Should Get Paid

Football is a rough sport and most players have very short careers. Players who stay in college for four years might sacrifice a year or two of earning potential in the NFL in order to stay in school

Football is a rough sport and most players have very short careers. Players who stay in college for four years might sacrifice a year or two of earning potential in the NFL in order to stay in school long enough to earn a degree. There is no guarantee that a player can improve his draft status or, even more importantly, avoid injury while playing more years of college ball. Are we still naive enough to think that most college football players are just in it for the degree?

NCAA College Football is a big business and there is no need to look much further than the holiday bowl season to see what a boon it is for the NCAA and most of its schools. Throw in ticket sales and television revenue from network and cable deals as well, and college football is a pretty big business that fails to offer any compensation for its front line employees. Since they aren't really obligated to get a degree or graduate, are they truly under contract or are they really NCAA employees?

There are certainly many arguments that could be made for why college football players should get paid, but these ten reasons should offer plenty of support for paying the courageous young men who make sure Saturdays are more enjoyable.

10 It Will Pay for More Than Just Textbooks

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

When Shabazz Napier ripped the NCAA after the UConn Huskies men's basketball team won the national championship, many people listened. Napier questioned the NCAA's decision to ban the Huskies for academic issues, as well as for making players go hungry by not allowing them to have any money to grab a bite to eat after hours or when dining options are scarce. The truth is that full scholarships can be great for students who get extra money from their parents but for those who don't, life can be hard.

Most scholarships do not include extra money for eating off campus or after dining facilities are closed. Some textbooks, school supplies and even clothes for going to football banquets more often than not have to come out of the players' pockets. It is not fair that players have to put in extra time to keep up with their studies but also have to worry about being able to afford the extras that other students have to buy. It is kind of strange how players can have an endless supply of helmets, jerseys, shoes, mouthpieces and even gloves but helping mom pay rent or getting a 3-piece suit is against the rules.

9 It Will Help Teach Financial Responsibility

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Many players come from working class households and experience the shock of jumping up several income brackets when they sign their first NFL contract. Getting paid in college would help teach these players some responsibility before they are rewarded a big NFL/NBA contract. Even though the numbers may not be quite the same, anything players can learn about money in college can go a long way towards saving more of it when they get to the pros.

Players could make just enough money to be forced to make choices that can pave the way for more responsible decision making when the financial stakes become high. Many players will learn the value of money and the responsibility that comes from holding down a job. Real skills like balancing a budget, living within one's means and writing a check can be acquired during this time. With so many players getting so little out of their college experience, it would be nice for even just a few players to learn some of life's important lessons.

8 It Will Give Suspensions More Bite

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

When players make a mistake in college and get suspended for a game or less, what kind of penalty is that? Many suspensions are carried out during non-conference games early in the season, when games often have a little less meaning. Any punishment only hurts the program and the players who are more dedicated to their craft. If players were paid, there would be more direct consequences to any lapses in judgement and selfish behavior.

It certainly would be better to educate players in college about how unacceptable behavior can lead to a loss in income. The current slaps on the wrist that are given to players who bend the rules only encourages more instances of undesirable behavior. This valuable lesson for being responsible for one's actions and understanding the consequences of breaking the rules, is being lost when it comes to the current crop of "above the law" college players. It might be helpful to learn the effects of a suspension in college, while making less money as opposed to getting hit with a suspension without pay and big fine in the NFL/NBA.

7 Paying Players Will Help Reduce Corruption


If players were paid for playing football, the other rules with endorsement income and autograph sales can be more easily enforced. Players currently have nothing to lose but a little playing time when they look to bend rules that keep them from getting paid. Many colleges are not exactly encouraged to report any autograph signings, gifts from alumni or even any free meals. It is easy to see why the players feel entitled to accept any gifts that might come their way.

Paying players would hold them responsible for playing by the rules and also prepare them more for playing in the NFL/NBA. Players would be less willing to risk a steady pay check to sign autographs or make money in some other illegal way. Nobody would feel sorry for players who get greedy and end up breaking the rules. Players who watch their schools make fists full of dollars will get a small slice of pie. It would be hard to tell loved ones why a steady paycheck was sacrificed in order to make a few extra bucks.

6 It Might Keep More Players in School

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Paying players to play in college, might actually keep a few more of them in school. Sometimes the decision to leave school is purely economical as many players are lured to the potential money that can be made at the next level. Getting paid to play in college can make it easier to stay in school when a player's draft stock can be improved, experience at the collegiate level enhanced and education on and off the field furthered. It might lead some players to stick around and work on a degree, their skills or maturity.

If college football players received decent middle class wages, many players would be able to send some money home, which would in turn encourage many parents to convince their sons that they should stay in school. So many parents would sacrifice for a few more years in order for their son to improve his draft stock or earn a degree. In either case, there is usually no alternative and getting something out of football sooner than later can at least optimize a player's earning potential.

5 It Will Help Players Adjust to College, Socially and Economically

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Many top sports recruits come from the inner city, country or a humble environment and going off to college is a completely new experience. Most of the young people at major universities in the United States come from families that have incomes that are well above the national average. Players are asked to come to institutions where they are not social equals and yet they are expected to feel good about the situation and themselves.

A good portion of these players are trying to adjust in the classroom as well and feel inferior in more ways than we care to realize. The fame and prestige that comes from being a big college football star goes a long way towards helping many of these players overcome any social economical disparity, but it is always there. Paying college football players would help level the playing field, while also helping players adjust to having a job and making money. It is crazy that we ask these players to be celebrities at many of these schools, yet we have no assurance that the players or their families have enough food to eat or clothes to ward off the cold. Why would players stay in school when they can get to the big leagues and have some of those material possessions that many students flaunt.

4 Playing Football is a Job, Not P.E.

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Asking these players to go to school and play football is quite a tall order when many have coasted through classes in high school. Assuming we treat them like student athletes, it seems like football can be treated as a part-time job at the bare minimum. Getting paid to play college ball might actually make it easier to look at school as more of an opportunity worth taking. Many athletes could actually take classes for money management, investing and business instead of going through the motions of formal undergraduate studies.

Football is more of a job than a fun activity that satisfies physical education. College football is a business where players routinely spend extra time in film sessions, working out in their free time and vigorously preparing for the next opponent between all that. We don't suspend players from school when they get a bad grade, steal soda or crab legs or yell vulgar things in public. Instead, we give them probation and a time out from doing their job. We fly football players across the country to play non-conference games and ask so much of their time away from the classroom. That doesn't seem like school and certainly satisfies more than just a couple of units for P.E.

3 Players Give Up Their Bodies for Their School

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Football is a physically demanding sport that requires players to keep their bodies in tip top shape. It is not simply a class where a "C" can be earned for just getting by. The demands on the body are quite extensive and there really is very little time to keep up with studies or take on a part-time job for extra money. Students who work in labs at night or the bookstore during the day get paid for doing work that makes more money for their school. On the other hand, college football players sacrifice their bodies almost daily and put themselves in danger for each and every game, all without pay.

The fact that many of these players can't qualify to get into the universities that they play for can only mean that their physical work is valued more than their brains. Seems like their physical work should be rewarded with more than just the privilege of rubbing elbows with some of the elite students from high school. These same students can't do what the players can do and can't make their university all the money that the players do. If players could jump right into the NFL following high school, why would they want to be treated like a slave in the college ranks?

2 Make Money Now! Football Careers Can Be Short

Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

For many players, playing college football comes with a cost that can have a big impact on their ability to make money in the NFL. The draft position of players can often be affected in a big way by major injuries that might occur when players are in college. Paying players who play the college game will at least ensure that players are earning some money now in case their future becomes cloudy. For most scholarship players, their careers are starting and ending at the collegiate level. Just because they might never get a chance to play on Sunday doesn't mean they don't help fill stadiums and television airtime on Saturdays.

As it stands, colleges and the NCAA can make money selling jerseys and other souvenirs that might include the likeness of players, yet the actual players never receive a cent. A three or four year starter can generate lots of money for their school, but not realize any of it until reaching the NFL. Running backs have notoriously short careers and many college teams still value running the ball. If a running back wins a Heisman Trophy and only has a four or five year career in the NFL, his best years might have been at the college level. It only makes sense to get paid for this time.

1 NCAA College Football Makes Money, So Players Should Too!

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA and its most popular teams make lots of money. The University of Texas generated over $100 million in revenue in 2011 ($104 million), marking the first time in history the $100 million barrier had been eclipsed. Thanks to lucrative television deals, merchandising and boasting many of the largest sporting venues in the United States, college football makes lots of money. Cable and network television deals alone add millions of dollars to the coffers of individual collegiate programs. With so much money coming in, the players are expected to do slave labor without a cut?

This is incredibly unjust! How many other businesses make millions of dollars and don't pay their employees? These are kids that are pulled from their homes and yanked away from loved ones to cross the country to a situation where football comes first and school is an afterthought. The vast majority of these players are not Rhodes scholars, have never been asked to excel in the classroom, and are thrown into prestigious universities where most students had to compete to get in. Does the public really think that these universities are hard at work making sure athletes get the most out of their education? It is highly unlikely that a "D" or "F" on a test receives the same attention as an ankle sprained during practice. This is a hypocritical situation.

Give TheSportster a Thumbs up!

Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?

Get Your Free Access Now!

More in NFL

Top 10 Reasons College Football Players Should Get Paid