Should College Athletes Be Paid


The good news for employers and the search consultants who assist them is that more jurisdictions are digitizing and consolidating degree checks into a single source like the US’s National Student Clearinghouse. China has done this with its CHESSIC service, as has France with Verifdiploma, Higher Education Degree Datacheck in the UK, and AuraData in Canada. Indian universities are working to build databases to distinguish the genuine from the fake, which is very exciting, as South Asia is one of the centers of degree fraud. If the school has a brick-and-mortar facility somewhere and it offers online degrees, the degrees that come from these schools’ online programs are likely legitimate. Students who graduate from these programs receive a diploma from Harvard.

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So they are looking for ways to boost the monies going to athletics without it “being shown” or “felt.” Other presidents and chancellors have told me about these issues at the board level. Fortunately, where I teach, the practice has been to have one set of accounting rules govern all schools and departments, including athletics. Throughout the argument, the justices expressed support for some kind of compensation for student athletes. Their repeated references to the billions of dollars in revenue, the sky-high coaching salaries and the bizarre nature of a market that depends upon free labor demonstrated that the justices are keenly attuned to the reality of college sports. Predicting the outcome from argument is always speculative at best.

Inequity In Education

At stake is whether colleges can offer athletes potentially tens of thousands of dollars in "education benefits" in the form of computers, graduate scholarships, tutoring, study abroad, and internships. Title IX stipulates that colleges must provide equal opportunities for male and female athletes. Would a university have to pay female athletes in aggregate the same amount as their male counterparts? Not necessarily — but a school would be required to ensure that female athletes receive proportionate opportunities for scholarships. College sports, particularly football, are a big deal and a big business. The Department of Education reported that college athletic programs collected $14 billion in total revenue in 2019, up from $4 billion in 2003.

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