Anybody that has ever played sports knows about the dedication and work it takes to excel in them. Not only does a person need a good physical fitness and strength, but they also need the mental strength needed to compete with other people at the height of their physical and mental fitness.
Given the amount of work and fortitude that it takes to engage in sports, it becomes difficult to understand when to start paying them. There is no doubt that athletes put themselves on the line every day of their sports career, and at a point, a price must be determined in order to justify that risk.
The debate is that athletes are given an opportunity to pursue their dreams in academia, talking about college sports of course, and that their “payment” is the chance to play on a large stage and potentially become professional. However, there debate lies in how much college sports makes in advertising, merchandise, sponsorships, and other areas of business.
Universities, especially those with good athletic programs, make a great deal of money simply by hosting college sports, but do little in way of actually supplying the entertainment. So what you essentially get is young adults competing against each other for free, while team owners and Universities make a killing off of the proceeds. It is difficult to determine whether college athletes should get paid, and there is a debate to be had on both sides.
Perhaps what colleges can do is split some of the profits.