Although it might seem like paying college athletes would be easy for universities, since they bring in so much revenue, paying every single Division 1 athlete would be no small task. Business Insider estimates that it would cost $200 million dollars to pay college athletes. This is of course to pay all Division 1 athletes. This segways into a bigger picture problem with paying college athletes. Who gets paid and how much does each player get paid? Under the law Title IX, schools receiving federal aid must provide equal opportunities to men and women. This is the topic of many debates as the star basketball player at a big university and a player for the softball team would be paid very different amounts due to the amount of revenue and eyes they bring to the university. This becomes a problem for many universities because only a small percentage of Division 1 schools are turning a profit from their athletic programs. In fact, Forbes reported in 2011 that the NCAA released data showing that only 14 programs are turning a profit without having to rely on institutional support. This becomes a huge problem for many universities as they simply won’t be able to pay all of their athletes. This imbalance in revenue would also become a major recruiting issue among universities. Bigger universities could recruit athletes by offering them money that the other universities couldn’t offer.
With so many obstacles in the way of paying college athletes, it seems like there is no logical way of paying all Division 1 athletes. While this may true, there have been many possible solutions to this problem. The Federal Work Study Program. Under this, the universities would have to re-classify the athletes as employees at the school. This would mean that playing a sport at the university would be considered a job. This program has been in place for years and allows students to make a maximum of $7,000 per year. If all Division 1 athletes were to receive the maximum salary, this would cost the Federal Work Study Program $1.17 billion each year, with much of this money coming from the federal government. Since many universities aren’t even making a profit, this would be way too much money to pay per year. But if the salary per player was lowered to the current average amount students are making, $1524, this would mean the Federal Work Study Program would only have to pay $255 million each year, with the schools paying $63.6 million. This suggestion is one of the few that would be financially possible, but it also offers another new issue. As stated previously, under the Federal Work Study Program, playing sports would become the athletes job while in college. This may cause problems within the NCAA because playing a sport currently isn’t and shouldn’t be considered a job until the athlete is a professional.
As you can see, paying college athletes has many different obstacles to overcome, many of which don’t have easy solutions. Over the next few years, there will be more and more suggestions that will be thrown out that may solve one problem, but may leave another unattended or create a new problem. This will most likely become a recurring theme in the debate of whether or not to pay college athletes. In its current state, there doesn’t seem to be a solution to this problem. Therefore, college athletes won’t be seeing that pay check for their play anytime soon.