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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Do Division III athletes deserve to be paid?

<th Division I and Division III athletics require a large time commitment from the student-athlete. While Division I athletes put in extensive time, Division III athletes have no small time commitment. In season, Carleton student-athletes are playing six days a week. Practices are typically two to three hours long and are mentally and physically draining. Add on the homework load and possibly a work-study position, and athletes find themselves with hardly any free time.

The discrepancy between Division I and Division III athletics represents the school’s emphasis on sports. Division I athletes frequently receive financial aid in the form of scholarships while also benefiting from the school’s special services for athletes such as housing, tutors, and access to top tier athletic facilities. Division III athletes receive hardly any special services.

These differences have led some to argue that Division III athletes should get some sort of payment/scholarship. However, the overwhelming opinion at Carleton has been against said argument. Cameron Meikle, a freshman on the cross country and track teams acknowledged the differences in services for Division III athletes but agrees with the choice to not provide athletic scholarships. “I don’t think Division III athletes should get paid or have scholarships,” he said. “But we should have the same available resources as Division I athletes, especially free x-rays.”

Hailey Mair, a sophomore on the women’s soccer team, describes the attitude most student-athletes at Carleton display. “Division III athletics allows you to focus on academics first,” she said. “That’s why we shouldn’t get scholarships or be paid.” Despite the time commitment, Division III athletics does allow for more free time compared to Division I, especially during the off season. While Division I athletes maintain a fairly similar athletic schedule in and out of season, Division III athletes have the opportunity to explore other interests and join clubs during the off season. It is not uncommon to have a Division III athlete who is also involved in a community service group or is a member of a musical group, whereas at the Division I level, that would be extremely rare.

Another argument against Division III athletes being paid is that they simply do not provide the same amount of money as Division I athletes do to their respective schools. While Division III athletic events are attended, due to the difference in school size and emphasis on sports, sporting event revenues are quite different. According to Forbes, the Big Ten conference will sign a TV contract with FOX and ESPN for a total of 440 million dollars. Mikkel Sawyer, a freshman on the Men’s Soccer Team feels that the large difference in revenue is a big reason why Division III athletes should not receive scholarships. “Division III athletics don’t make enough money for the school for their athletes to receive payment,” he said.

Overall, the spirit of Division III athletics is one that prioritizes school first, and athletics second. This is the main reason for which many Carleton student-athletes feel as if they should not be compensated in some way, as it is ultimately their choice if they want to be competing at the Division III level.

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