Stimulus Checks: Why Most College Athletes Won't Receive Payments

The CARES Act was signed into law in late March and provided $1,200 payments to millions of Americans in mid-April. However, most college athletes are not eligible for the stimulus checks due to their age or dependent status. This left them wondering why others were receiving payments when they were missing out.

According to Forbes, most college students are not eligible for payments if they can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's federal income tax return. Those that are under 24 years of age are eligible to be claimed on their parents' returns. Whether or not they are actually claimed is mostly irrelevant. The eligibility is based upon if they can be claimed. Many college athletes fall into this category, but there are some exceptions.

If a student is 24 years or older, they will be eligible for a stimulus check. Additionally, they can also receive a payment if they are married and file jointly with their spouse. Those that pay for more than half of their own financial aid are also eligible for stimulus checks.

The CARES Act did allocate $12.5 billion for distribution among 5,000 colleges and students. This money is to be used as an emergency financial aid for those students that work to cover the cost of living as a full-time student. This funding will help offset lost wages due to the coronavirus.

If college athletes are among those working to support their education, it's possible that they will receive money from one of the 5,000 colleges. This is not guaranteed, however, considering that schools had to apply for the funds through the CARES Act. There are still several factors that could result in them not receiving a payment.

There have been countless discussions about college athletes receiving money in recent years. Many have been suspended for "illegal benefits" paid to them by schools or agents, and many rules have been changed in order for college stars to profit from their names and likenesses. California and several other states also passed laws allowing players to make money on endorsement deals.

"We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes," NCAA board chair Michael V. Drake said in a press release. "Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships."


Using their names and likenesses to earn money through social media and other avenues is one option to earn money during their time away from sports. It could also be the only way that many of these athletes receive payments during the pandemic. They could potentially receive a stimulus check, but this is not guaranteed.