Should College Athletes Be Paid?

Peter Jaworski,

Release Date
February 22, 2017


Basic Economics

The coaches get millions of dollars. The schools get millions too. So why don’t college athletes get paid at all?
Watch the full interview

    1. Does paying college football coaches corrupt the sport? Then why not pay the athletes themselves? (blog post): Peter Jaworski questions why paying college athletes would corrupt the sport if paying coaches doesn’t. 
    2. University athletes punished for bad thoughts (blog post): John Hasnas explains why he believes the Harvard men’s soccer team should not have been punished for rating members of the women’s soccer team. 
    3. The Connection between Sport and Classical Liberalism (blog post): Want to know how sports are like classical liberalism? Shawn Klein explains how classical liberal ideas like rule of law and civil society apply to sports. 

Evan Swarztrauber:
College student athletes, right now, they don’t get paid-
Peter Jaworski:
Evan Swarztrauber:
And you’re saying they should. Should college athletes get paid?
Peter Jaworski:
I do think that college athletes should get paid. I think there’s something fundamentally unjust about- the NCAA is a private organization and I think it’s unjust the way that they’ve decided how people get paid with the money that they take in. Right? I think student athletes should be paid, everybody else is paid. The NCAA claims that like it would corrupt sports to pay the athletes. Really? Right? But we pay coaches. The coach of the-
Evan Swarztrauber:
Millions of dollars.
Peter Jaworski:
Millions of dollars. The highest paid public employee in almost every state in the United States of America-
Evan Swarztrauber:
Is the college football coach.
Peter Jaworski:
Is the college football coach and in some cases it’s the college basketball coach.
Evan Swarztrauber:
Yup. More than the governor.
Peter Jaworski:
More than the governor. Now why are they paid so much? Why is there such a huge- people talk about compensation for CEOs and they say, “Ahh, CEOs get paid 105 times as much as like the average worker.” Well, in a way your college coach gets paid an infinite amount more than the college quarterback who doesn’t get paid. But we should say, by the way, that in a way they do get paid because they’re covered by scholarships, so they do get a scholarship. They do get some amount of that money, but the amount that they get is so much smaller than what many colleges would have to pay, not all of them. In many cases they subsidize the college athletics program. They don’t bring in a huge sum of money.
With the University of Alabama brings in huge sums of money from their football program. Enormous. Their coach gets paid 5.6 million, I think it is. Maybe even 6 million dollars a year for being a coach and in fact everybody gets paid except for the athletes. That just strikes me as bizarre.