Student athletes open up

When you think of The University of Texas, you think of Texas sports, the passionate fanbase and the sea of burnt orange with their horns up at any given sports event. We are an institution of higher education first, but the emphasis on athletics is continuously battling for top priority.

We’ve won 53 national championships since 1949. We’ve won 517 regular-season conference titles. UT student-athletes have gone on to win 130 Olympic medals. We even have nine student-athlete Rhode Scholars. All these statistics are proudly displayed on the UT “Facts & Figures” page, right next to academics and research statistics.

UT’s administration cares about academics as much as the next school, but there is no denying that its athletics program gives our school a well-known name, diehard supporters and, most of all, money.

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting spectator attendance at sporting events, Texas Athletics still made $22.1 million in profit for the 2019-2020 athletic year, according to the Austin American-Statesman. However, that number is nothing compared to the expenses generated by the athletic department every year. In the same athletic year, Texas Athletics spent $178.7 million on things like scholarships, coaches’ salaries and benefits and team travel, according to the Austin American-Statesman. 

Although college athletics is a huge money-making business, student-athletes do not get paid a cent. Our student-athletes are expected to be full-time students and full-time athletes at one of the top schools in the country. 

They must perform well both in the classroom and on the field while also managing the general stress of college.

In this forum, we hear from two student-athletes about their experiences at UT.

As always, if you have any thoughts on this topic or any other, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]