College soccer can be as exciting to watch as some professional games. But while everyone knows that some pro soccer players get paid vast amounts of money, you may be unaware of how much college soccer players earn. Let me explain to you how college soccer payments work.
College soccer players do not get paid. It is against National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules for college soccer players to receive direct compensation or get money from endorsements or appearances related to their sport.
This rule applies to all college athletes in general. No student-athletes can be directly paid for their participation in sport.
Some groups are trying to change the rules for college soccer players and other players in other sports. However, these changes have not yet taken effect nationwide.
But you should be aware that just because a college soccer player cannot be paid directly, it doesn’t mean that they don’t receive some reward for their college soccer participation.
Did you know the MLS is one of the only soccer leagues in the world to impose a salary cap on their teams? Click here to find out the reason why in an article I wrote all about it.
Why Can’t College Soccer Players Get Paid?
The NCAA requires that college soccer players remain amateurs during their collegiate careers.
What does this mean? This means that they cannot receive compensation for playing. Furthermore, they cannot get paid for deciding to attend a specific college.
The NCAA also says that family members cannot receive compensation to convince their child to attend a specific school to play soccer. If the student or family member breaks this rule, they could lose their eligibility to play college sports.
If a school or their boosters make or conceal such payments to students, the entire team could lose their official NCAA status.
In some cases, breaking eligibility rules results in a suspension, but not a lifetime ban. Players often get banned for the remainder of their college career.
If this happens, schools typically receive punishments such as not being able to offer scholarships to all players or being suspended from end-of-year tournaments for one or more years.
Students can also lose their eligibility if they accept money for playing their sport or make appearances while in high school.
Many rules violations do not directly involve the student. A school booster may offer a payment to the player’s parents or high school coach to convince the player to attend their school.
College sports football and basketball are also hugely popular. To find out if they also get paid, check out my articles – Do soccer players get paid more than basketball players? and Do soccer players get paid more than football players?
What Do College Soccer Players Get for Playing in College?
Just because a college soccer player cannot get paid directly doesn’t mean they don’t get anything.
Most college soccer players do receive something in return for playing.
Although you can play college soccer without a scholarship, many are on scholarships, so they can attend college without paying tuition or boarding costs. Some scholarships cover all costs associated with attending college, while others cover some of the costs.
Schools may also offer a stipend for everyday expenses.
These stipend amounts vary by school. Schools can do this by changing the makeup of their scholarships.
This change allows them to stay within the NCAA rules while providing cash for student-athletes.
The stipends need to be for living expenses or school-related costs (such as books, computers, or food expenses). For example, a soccer player could not use their stipend money to purchase a car, eat at fancy restaurants, or provide a loan to a family member.
College rules are also very strict when it comes to recruiting athletes.
Though they can arrange campus visits for high school players, they cannot provide gifts or offer “spending money” for prospective athletes to use during their visit.
Do you want to know what a high school soccer tryout is ACTUALLY like? Find out in this article I wrote if you want to give yourself or someone you know the best chance possible to impress the coach and make it into the team.
Who Gets Scholarships?
Soccer players in Division 1 and Division 2 schools can receive scholarships.
Athletes in Division III do not get athletic scholarships, so they still have to pay tuition while playing their sport.
In addition to larger universities, NAIA and NJCAA (“junior college”) schools offer scholarships to student-athletes in some sports, including soccer.
Most college soccer players get scholarships when they come to school as freshmen.
However, it is possible to earn a scholarship at some schools by trying out for the team as a “walk-on” and earning a scholarship. This type of scholarship is rare, however.
Not every school offers full scholarships to soccer players. In some cases, soccer players get partial scholarships.
The scholarship offers vary from school to school. The amount a school can offer may depend on their budget, the size, and notoriety of their soccer program, as well as other factors.
Find out how long a college soccer game lasts in my article – College Soccer Games: A Breakdown of the Timings.
Will College Soccer Players Get Paid in the Future?
The NCAA recently took steps that could allow players to get payments from third parties in the future. In April 2020, the Board of Directors said that they were willing to accept the idea.
However, they did not take any official steps to make it a rule.
Currently, college soccer players cannot accept paid endorsement deals. They cannot use their status to promote businesses, including businesses that they own or family businesses.
If this new rule eventually becomes official, college soccer players would get endorsements and promote businesses. So far, though, that has not happened. However, if they do so now, they would lose their eligibility to play soccer at the college level.
The rules could include monetizing YouTube or other social media channels. Currently, students would run afoul with amateur status rules if they earn money from YouTube unless the content does not include anything related to their college athletic careers.
California approved the Fair Pay to Play Act, which would allow student-athletes to get paid for playing in college. This law will not go into effect until 2023.
The NCAA has said they would accept endorsement payments, but they have also said that they would bar teams from official tournaments if they paid their players under the law.
Because the act will not go into effect for several years, it does not change student-athletes’ current lack of eligibility to earn money while playing in college.
Students Can Get Paid After College
Most college soccer players do not become professionals in their sport. However, they can still use their status as former college players to arrange jobs or appearance.
For example, they can use their status as former college athletes to arrange appearances, work for soccer clinics, coach, or act in advertisements.
Since their official college careers are over, they do not break eligibility rules by capitalizing on their image as college athletes.
However, doing these things while still members of the college soccer team will result in a loss of eligibility.
So, to clarify, college soccer players currently do not get paid directly. Those on scholarship do, however, attend college without having to pay tuition or other expenses.
The NCAA has accepted the idea of college soccer players eventually getting paid for endorsements, appearances, or other third-party deals. These deals would not include direct payments from the school outside of scholarships and academic costs.
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