In addition to the debate; I also attended the deliberation concerning whether college athletes should be paid. I really enjoyed the deliberation because it gave me a chance to have my voice heard rather than just listening (like the debate). The deliberation followed the same structure as the deliberations that we had earlier this semester and tried to answer the question: Should college athletes be paid? Using 3 different approaches.
Approach one was: No, athletes shouldn’t be paid because they aren’t professionals; they are students. This approach had the most support. We discussed that athletes choose the strenuous life style they have and often already receive scholarships or benefits such as free clothing, tutors, traveling, etc. I personally agreed a lot with this point. I really enjoy running and I would love to be good enough to get scholarships to run here and all of the awesome facilities that the track team has. I know working out twice a day is a lot but I also work very hard balancing 20 credits, clubs, and working out. I choose my busy schedule just like athletes choose to compete at the college level. In addition, the deliberation discussed that paying the student for their sport is not really economically possible at a lot of universities and devalues the purpose of college: to get an education! I also agreed with these points.
Approach two was: Yes, college athletes should be paid because the athlete is valued as a student. Athletes apparently have pressure of loosing their scholarships if they don’t perform well. The deliberation group suggested that this makes athletes less apt to focus on their schooling to ensure that they do well in their sport. I’m not personally sure how much I agree with this argument. I think athletes should decide what is most important to them and focus on that. Universities shouldn’t have to pay athletes to help them focus on school, they should be self-motivated in their studies.
Finally, approach three was: Yes, college athletes should be paid because the athlete is a valued employee. This approach was the more appealing of the two affirmative approaches because it discussed the fact that athletic programs bring millions of dollars in revenue to universities. Shouldn’t the Penn State football players get a cut of the huge amount of money they bring in? I could see how this is an arguable point, but I don’t think its fair to other less popular sports and especially women sports. Women sports simply aren’t as popular as men’s sports. This would mean that men would have a much bigger chance of being paid as athletes despite the fact that the female athletes are working just as hard as them. This definitely bothers me A LOT. I think if one athlete is paid, than everyone that works just as hard should be paid to. It’s not the athletes fault that their sport isn’t as exciting to watch.
Overall, I think the deliberation was a lot of fun and I especially enjoyed hearing the perspective of one ex-college athlete that was there. I really wish more athletes had attended!!!