Are college athletes considered pro?

A sample policy on amateurism and the NCAA is as follows: As a member of the NCAA, State University requires that all of its student-athletes be amateurs in their sport. You are a professional if you:

  • Are paid (in any form) or accept the promise of pay for playing in an athletics contest;
  • Sign a contract or verbally commit with an agent or a professional sports organization;
  • Ask that your name be placed on a draft list (Note: in basketball, once you become a student-athlete at an NCAA school, you may enter a professional league’s draft one time without jeopardizing your eligibility provided you are not drafted by any team in that league and you declare your intention in writing to return to college within 30 days after the draft;
  • Use your athletics skill for pay in any form (for example, TV commercials, demonstrations);
  • Play on a professional athletics team; or
  • Participate on an amateur sports team and receive any salary, incentive payment, award, gratuity, educational expenses or expense allowance (other than playing apparel, equipment and actual and necessary travel, and room and board expenses).


But isn’t it important to note that some players are already paid some form of compensation.

For example, student athletes on athletic scholarship are essentially paid already because they receive free tuition, room, meal plans, and some money for books and miscellaneous expenses. At the bigger, more successful universities, athletes also receive academic counseling, tutoring, life skill training, and even nutritional advice.

Using these valuations, and adding in the value of a scholarship, a student athlete at a major conference school on full scholarship is likely receiving a package of education, room, board, and coaching/training worth between $50,000 and $125,000 per year depending on their sport and whether they attend a public or private university.


Basically that is defined by the NCAA. If they say, for example, giving a player $3,000 in spending money and free car rental is okay, then you are still an amateur. If they prohibit those benefits yet you are given them by the university, you can lose your status as an amateur.

I don’t think so. You can only be considered pro if you’re being paid to do it and college students aren’t.