How Much Money Does A College Athlete Make?

To know How Much Money Does A College Athlete Make….Read on this article…!

How Much Money Does A College Athlete Make?

What Is A College athlete?

According to Byers 1964, a college athlete is a student enrolled at an educational institution, whether part-time or full time be it at a university, college, or even high school, for both academic curriculum and competitive athletic program sponsored by the same institution.

How Much Money Does a College Athlete get Paid?

On the international market ,a college athlete get around salaries of approximately $44,480 money annually, while in South Africa they get around $45,280 which translates to around R679,200.

College athletes do not just get salaries but can earn through activities like endorsements, social media marketing, personal appearances, sponsored posts, and signing off as brand ambassadors where they rake up from as much as $500,000 to $1 million annually.

Why Should a College Athlete Get Money?

  • They Bring Revenue To Their Colleges

The American National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recorded a revenue generation of US$1.16 billion for the 2021 fiscal year, marking an increase from US$519 million generated in 2020. With such evidence of profitability from college athletics, the athletes themselves should get paid because of these high volumes of revenue they generate for their institutions.

  • They Give Their Schools Valuable Exposure 

According to the Flutie effect on college admissions and backed by a football study, when a college athletic or sports team makes the news headlines, rising from a mediocre level to a top spot in the tournaments, academic applications at that institution rise by 18.7%. 

This, coupled with the alumni donations rising by 28% after a team wins five more games than in the previous tournament shows that when college athletes excel they increase the exposure of their institutions, and as such, they are justifiably paid for their efforts on the sports scene.

  • Playing Equals Working

Apart from the college athlete being enrolled in college, there is little or no difference to the professional athlete when it comes to the time dedicated to the sport by both athletes. Research has shown that both athletes dedicate an average of 35hours weekly towards the sport per season.

Equating this time to monetary value in terms of monetary remuneration the athletes would be making an average of $1000 per month using the minimum wage scale. Since the college athlete operates the same as the professional athlete it is only fair that both be paid a reasonable salary.

  • Sports Take Away From Studies

Since a college athlete dedicates 35 hours weekly towards sports, time dedicated to academic studies would be reduced considerably. Even though financial compensation can not replace the time lost towards academics and compromised grades, college athletes take the sport seriously with the greatest chances of taking up sport professionally after college. Thus, getting college athletes getting paid would in more ways than one, equate to a paid learnership.

  • High Risk of Physical Injury

College athletes run a great risk of injury during athletics with serious injuries even jeopardizing their chances of continuing with the sport professionally or even getting disabled. An injury may also mean that the college athlete can even lose their sports scholarship. With such high risks encountered during partaking in the sport, there should also be great returns and as such, it would be fair to pay college athletes.

Why Should College Athletes Not Get Paid?

  • College Athletes Are Already On A Full Scholarship

Most college athletes would have won a sports scholarship to attend college and as such other colleges feel this would be compensation enough to warrant their dedication to sports during their tenure at college. However, this notion fails to accommodate that other college athletes do not have a full scholarship and as such may struggle to cater for their daily expenses as they would have no extra time to get part-time employment for extra funds.

  • Not All Sports Warrant A Positive Revenue Income

According to the NCAA only 25 athletic programs out of about 1 100 programs had a positive revenue in 2019. This means that if the college is getting a positive revenue from only a small fraction of the athletics, it will not be financially viable to afford to pay all the athletes.

The result will be that the college will cut off on the other sports and only focus on the financially viable options, thus other students will be cut off from partaking in college athletics at a professional level since they would not be guaranteed of getting remuneration.

  • Who Should Get Paid And Who Shall Not 

Ultimately the varying impact of different college sports on revenue generation for the college with other sports being high value means there might be discrepancies in the salaries and it would prove problematic if all college athletes should be paid equally or be paid concerning the revenue they generate. Colleges would thus be in a dilemma on the issue of rationalizing salaries.

  • Elite Colleges Benefit At The Expense of Average Colleges

Not only does the correlation between the revenue generated by certain sports over others impact the salaries of the student-athletes but it also means that elite colleges which would afford to pay their college athletes salaries would have an unfair advantage over general colleges as they will be more positioned to get high performing athletes and ultimately generate more revenue than the other colleges. This will dwindle the chances of college athletes from low financially stable colleges having professional athletics as careers.

  • Financial Gain would Dump Down on Passion For Athletics 

Corporate profiteering through turning primarily scholars into professional athletes also means that less talented athletes would not be awarded the chance to partake in entry-level sports as the sport would be too competitive for them to have enough dedicated time from their coaches and support from institutions to develop low-level sport as the focus would be on the revenue-generating professional college athletes.


Extracurricular in terms of sport is part of the total college curriculum. However, when college athletes are at college, usually under a sports scholarship, they primarily become athletes first before they are students, especially concerning time dedicated to sports. This coupled with the fact that they generate revenue for their institutions and numerous other ways their sportsmanship benefits the college, has awarded them the position of being paid for their efforts.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Which college sport makes the most money?

According to the financial website, football is the biggest revenue producer of college sports raising on average $31.9 million per school per year.

  1. What are the least profitable college sports?

Women’s sand volleyball, women’s bowling, and women and gymnastics are the least common and least profitable of college athletics.

  1. How do student-athletes differ from other students?

Student-athletes are mostly students who earn an athletic scholarship to go to an academic institution as an athlete.

  1. Why do student-athletes perform better at academics than other students?

Studies prove that sports have a positive impact on student-athletes as they have high self-esteem, get time to de-stress the mind through sport, have better physical and mental shape, and have fewer chances of experimenting with drugs and affecting their mental capacities and behaviors.