To Pay, or Not to Pay . . . Student-athletes at Division 1 Universities

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date

April 2017

Faculty Sponsor

Laurel Traynowicz


The issue of paying student-athletes for their role in generating university revenue through their sport is as divided as any hot topic on American campuses. The NCAA, under increasing pressure to address the pay-for-play debate, adopted the principle of amateurism in 2007. Amateurism is thought to ensure that student-athletes at Division I and II universities have education as their top priority. By prohibiting salary, contracts, agents, prize money and play with professional athletes, the NCAA certifies student-athletes as amateurs. While student-athletes on scholarship receive monthly stipends and free tuition, the NCAA rule is that student-athletes may not be compensated more than the cost of attending college. The monthly stipend has no upper- or lower limits but is calculated to keep students from paying out-of-pocket for normal living expenses. To research this topic, various elements of amateurism principles as well as the reality of students meeting or not meeting living expenses were studied. Members of compliance and financial aid offices were interviewed to discover what factors go into the formula that determines the amount of a monthly stipend. Division I scholarship student-athletes from all sports were interviewed to understand whether the amount of their stipend met monthly expenses. Student-athletes not on full scholarships were also consulted to see how they managed—between NCAA rules, compliance officers and increasing living costs—to get by and whether they thought the stipend was sufficient.

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