Over the last couple of decades, Division 1 college athletics have gained a lot of popularity throughout the United States. Whether it be football, basketball, or hockey, since the 2000s, intercollegiate sports have brought in a surplus of revenue to their respective major universities and also increasing the popularity of the college. For example, in a study conducted by the Orlando Sentinel, it was estimated that the University of Texas' Athletic Program had the highest revenue of any other University at $120,288,370 (How Much Revenue). Yet with this huge amount of money, no college athletes are actually compensated for their work. According to NCAA rules, "You are not eligible for participation in a sport if you have ever: Taken pay, or the promise of pay, for competing in that sport" (NCAA Regulations 1). These amateur athletes don't have an incentive to stay in college and finish their respective degrees, since many cannot afford to pay for the rising cost for the college experience. While many argue that college athletes shouldn't be paid as they are just amateurs representing their schools, this paper will make the argument that athletes must be paid to preserve the legitimacy of college athletics.
Student athletes should be compensated for their work, because they are the main reason for the school's surplus in revenue. In 2014, the NCAA set a record high of a $989 Million in net-revenue. That is almost 1 billion dollars of profit that the NCAA is raking in while not paying the students who made it happen a dime. It seems that everybody is benefiting except the athletes are benefiting. Some select Division 1 schools provide stipends for their students based on "cost of living" to help with extra expenses, but it is not anywhere near proportional to the amount of money they bring into the college. For example, the University of Alabama football team has the highest stipend in the nation at around $5,000.