The belief that college athletes don't have promising careers, and so they should not be encouraged to play is no more valid. Nowadays, there are career opportunities in sports, although the competition is equally high. There are some prominent benefits of awarding athletic scholarships to college athletes, but on the flip side, there are some demerits too. Without understanding both sides of the coin, it is not possible to reach to apt conclusions on this raging debate.
It is a fact that all work and no play makes jack a dull boy. If students are not encouraged to participate in activities beyond their academics, they won't experience holistic growth. It is important for the overall development of personality to promote sports in colleges. While thinking deeply on the issue of awarding college athletes scholarships, we have to consider the fact that not all students are equally good in academics, and this doesn't mean they don't put efforts in studies. Some students are inherently inclined towards some other pursuits. Here, as per our interest, it is sports. It can be any other pursuit as well―music, art, and or even singing. Hence, isn't it fair enough to let students get exposed to numerous experiences and choose what suits them best. If someone can be a great soccer player, why should he try to become a chemical engineer? Hence, it is important to promote talent, and that can be achieved by paying college athletes who show promising talent. Besides that, college sport is not just a regional affair now. Local athletes and players act as representatives for their respective cities and places. They're like sources from which talent is born, and gradually they battle in the national and international arena. We know it's a difficult journey, but mind you, it is not an impossible task.
The mind set of college management teams must be to balance sports and studies. If that is a reason not enough to promote scholarships for college students, consider this. There are many financial gains that come with promoting local sports and athletes. College games are still a favorite national past-time of most Americans, who love to spend their weekends enjoying some hours of baseball or American football games. The crowd these college students attract and the revenue generated is good enough for schools to kick start several important projects. If not anything, it adds to school revenue.
Another argument that needs to be discussed is that college athletes act as a source of marketing for billion-dollar super bowl matches. If the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is able to earn revenues to the tune of billions, sponsored by biggies like Pepsi and FedEx, it makes sense to pay college athletes. After all, when schools and colleges earn huge revenues through college athletics programs, it makes sense to pay them some fees for entertainment and education purposes. Not paying college athletes can be taken as exploitation by schools and colleges. Supporters of salaries for college athletes argue that college scholarships, though propagated by schools and colleges to be sufficient for students, is not always plentiful for them.
We need to think of the sports that are popular in the US. Basketball, baseball, and American football. That's it. It is these 3 sports that people are most frantic about in the US. These are the sports careers that have the highest potential of glitz, glamor, and money. Except these, minority sports are not promoted to a large extent. The problems with most schools and colleges is that except for these 3 sports, it is not easy to pay college athletes for every sport that is not so popular. So, if they pay for 3 sports and ignore others, it is surely an open invitation to divisiveness. Money generated in minority sports is often not enough to even fund salaries of players. So to avoid the headache, many colleges don't keep any fee for college athletes.
One of the main arguments given against paying money to college athletes is that if athletes in college are paid, they may no more be amateurs. Salary caps are for professional players and not for college athletes. Also many sports coaches and scholars argue that paying money to college athletes can get them involved in poor sportsmanship conduct as they may lose focus from sports, at ages when they must solely focus on developing their skills.
People against college athletic salaries also support their viewpoint by the argument that most of the athletic scholarships given to students are already sufficient to provide compensation to college athletes. With the help of college scholarships, college players are able to support their studies, pay for tuition, hostel, books, meals, and housing facilities. If all needs of college athletes are being met by scholarships, it is unfair to grant them some salaries and expose them to the professional world at an immature age.
As for my vote, I think it is certainly justifiable to allot some money for college athletes. Though, it may not be whopping salaries like those of rich football club players, certainly some monetary support can go a long way in encouraging college athletes.