Graduate School of Business


Master of Science in Sport Management (MS)


Laura Hatfield


Pay-for-play, Student-athletes, Phenomenology, College Athletics


Sports Management


The literature suggests the conceptual definition of amateurism set by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the increase in corporate athleticism within the NCAA has resulted in a controversial debate concerning the pay-for-play model, which would allow student-athletes to receive additional compensation. Numerous studies related to pay-for-play have been implemented, however, few have examined how student-athletes feel about the pay-for-play model. The purpose of this study will be to explore student-athletes’ perceptions of pay-for-play. In order to understand student-athletes’ perceptions of pay-for-play, a phenomenological research design was chosen. Three former and two current NCAA Division I student-athletes from Liberty University participated in the research. Each participant filled out a survey, completed an in-depth interview and participated in a focus group. The participants’ results showed two were proponents of pay-for-play, two were neutral and one was an opponent of the model. The survey results showed no major commonalities were found amongst the subgroups of the student-athletes. The individual interviews and focus groups exposed the only commonality found amongst similar viewpoints was the personal research a participant has done about the pay-for-play model.