Should student athletes be receiving payment for playing?

The Collegian Staff


NDSU and USD will soon be paying student athletes a cost of attendance stipend for the next academic year.


There are both pros and cons to providing athletes with a cost of attendance stipend. Only time will tell how this issue will play out on campus. 

Recently, some of the Division I schools SDSU competes against in athletics approved programs to provide scholarship athletes with a cost of attendance stipend. 

Historically, scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, room and board and books. North Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota will begin offering a cost of attendance stipend during the 2016-17 academic year. The stipend will help student athletes pay for things such as rent, food or academic-related supplies. Full scholarship athletes will receive $3,400 at NDSU and $4,145 at USD. 

The amount received by each scholarship athlete will be a percentage of these amounts based on the percentage of scholarship each athlete is receiving. SDSU is currently working on plans to determine if putting a similar stipend program in place is feasible, or necessary.

In today’s society, we place a large amount of value on entertainment, and not just in the form of sporting events. If you compare the salary of a professional in a field such as accounting or health care to the salary of a professional athlete or performer; the athletes and performers generally make much more money than the accountant or doctor. 

The value of entertainment is somewhat visible in college athletics. Many of you may know the name of college athletes such as Ezekiel Elliott, or names like Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota and Johnny Manziel. But do you know the names of all the people you are in class with in Rotunda D? That’s the value of college athletics. 

The Collegian staff realizes that schools are raking in big bucks off their athletes, and this stipend idea is the first attempt at trying to give the athletes their share of the income they are generating. 

Most college students work hard to pay their way through college and so do athletes, but athletes put hard work into their sport and don’t get anything in return.  

We find both advantages and disadvantages to implementing the stipend program on our campus. The first advantage is that SDSU will remain competitive in the recruiting game. Secondly, it lifts a financial burden off of the student athletes and gives them some kind of reimbursement for the hard work they put into their on-campus “jobs.” 

There are also disadvantages to the idea. First, it’s not fair to other student performers who don’t receive the stipends, such as theater and music students who perform in front of large audiences, also bringing in money for the university.

Next, we don’t know for sure where the money will be coming from. Will it come from private donations? Will it come from an increase in our General Activity Fee? We strongly oppose the thought that the stipend could increase our fees, but we highly doubt that is where the funds will come from. 

Lastly, if the stipends are funded by private donations, the amount could fluctuate on a year-to-year basis. 

We at The Collegian are split on the issue. With a student athlete on staff, we were given a first-hand account of how beneficial this could be. But as students, we too see the downsides. Only time will tell how this issue will play out on campus.