By Andrew Hoenig ‘19
One of the raging debates in sports is whether or not college athletes should be paid for playing for their school.
There have been numerous opinions around the country, but now Franklin Pierce can supply its’ take on the question
In a recent poll that involved a number of Franklin Pierce students and athletes, as well as members of the Rindge community; data showed that 53% of people do not believe student-athletes should be paid. The numbers were incredibly close as 47% said they do believe college athletes should be paid.
Those who participated in the poll were torn on the issue seeing it from both sides. For instance, Zach Masiello, a junior transfer from the University of Maine who was going to play football this season for Pierce. “I do believe college athletes should be paid,” said Masiello. “But also, that’s what a scholarship is right? To pay the student-athletes to come to that school.”
Another student-athlete, Nicholas Wood, a senior who played three years of Franklin Pierce sprint football, said he believes that “NCAA Division I athletes who generate real revenue for their school [deserve to get paid]. Like Alabama or Georgia? Those players should be paid. But the rate of pay should be based on popularity.”
Athletes who voted were two-to-one in favor of paying student-athletes whereas non-athletes tended to vote against paying their school’s athletes.
In addition to the question of athletes being paid, comes the question of ‘can they be sponsored while in school?’
“I think they should be paid in free tuition and be allowed to be sponsored by Nike and other companies like that, but they shouldn’t necessarily get a paycheck from the school,” said Sierra Sargent, a graduate from Keene State.
Some of the voters in the poll agreed that Division I athletes should be allowed to be paid and receive sponsorships including Wood and senior Michael Dominguez of the Franklin Pierce Sprint Football team.
“I think it depends. Division I athletes that are put on national TV absolutely, but Division II and lower? I’m not sure because the school isn’t necessarily making money off of those athletes,” said Dominguez.
The popular consensus then among those who vouched for student-athletes to be paid is then that the more talented players deserve to pay. However, only a small amount of athletes coming out of college actually receive scholarships.
Student-athletes can receive a full scholarship at either the Division I or Division II level. Any level below does not offer athletic scholarships. Thus, only about 150,000 student-athletes are provided with scholarships. An estimated $2.9 billion annually is dispersed and only about two percent of high school athletes are awarded athletic scholarships, according to the NCAA.
“If you’re going to pay athletes, then just get rid of scholarships for them,” said Wood.
Many student-athletes end up working on or off campus jobs in order to buy simple necessities and food while away at school. However, parents who pay for their kids is also something that must be taken into consideration when deciding whether to start handing paychecks to student-athletes.
There are many different factors that one must consider when making any decision as large as this one for colleges collectively around the country and that is why at this time the scholarship system is considered the best way to award an athlete for playing at their school. The debate will rage on until a clear answer presents itself in the future on whether or not student-athletes should be paid.