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LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) eludes Auburn defensive back Blake Countess (24) on a 40 hard touchdown run in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

FEATURE: Should College Athletes be Paid?

ncaaSome college athletes’ names are among the superstars.  They bring in millions for their schools as well as contribute to other industries such as media and marketing.  If they are making money for others without being compensated, are they being taken advantage of? Should this industry still be considered “amateur”? How would it change the market of college sports?

Exploitation

Many athletes would say that the term “student-athlete” is a myth.  Colleges exist to educate people, and many times it is emphasized that “student” comes before “athlete.”  Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman would disagree.

Forbes writer Marc Edelman also said that the student role takes the backseat as student-athletes are forced to miss classes and exams for games.

Those who disagree with athletes being paid often defend themselves by saying, “The athletes will not worry about their school work, they will worry about keeping their payment.”  But to their oblivion, that is happening right now.

The classic “one-and-done.”  Some basketball players come to school for one year solely to be eligible for the NBA draft.

Share the Wealth

ESPN writer Michael Wilbon discusses how it is unfair that the NCAA is contracting with channels like CBS from 2011-2024 to broadcast March Madness for $11 billion.

NCAA president Mark Emmert rolled in $1.9 million is 2014, yet the students that are generating that revenue are not making a dime.

If an athlete has a career-ending injury, more times than not their scholarships will be taken away, which may force them out of school.

Education

If college sports are taken out of the academic model and placed into the economic model, these players will be fought over at a market rate; a university president’s nightmare.

al-palNo matter how much money a player will be paid, the most valuable asset they could have is an education.  If contracts are being thrown in kids’ faces, will they take their eye off the ball?  Will they worry about finals or footballs?

Ally Reinhardt is on a partial scholarship at Messiah College for women’s soccer.  She is grateful for what she has, and wouldn’t want to ask for more.  Reinhardt had a stellar freshman season with 8 goals and awarded the MAC Commonwealth Rookie of the Year.

“As an athlete, I get it.  We put a lot of work into our sport, but at the end of the day, I’m not going to be a professional soccer player because there is barely a market for that.  I’m going to go out there and be a professional teacher.  The fact that my school is paying for me to play the sport I love with the girls that I love, and I’ll come out of school without any debt, I couldn’t ask for a better deal.” -Ally Reinhardt

For the Love of the Game

What will happen to those who do not have a shot at the pros, whether it be because of the specific sport or ability level.  When money is invested in an athlete, coaches will more than likely give those athletes their undivided attention as they are a financial liability.

Athletes with lesser contracts will fly under the radar.  It may become more about the money-making player than about bettering the team as a whole.  Paying athletes could create a whole different dynamic of where a coach’s time goes and how the team as a whole would operate.

What the School All Ready Provides

Food, housing, scholarships, you name it.  These are all things that are provided to the majority of athletes.  When it comes down to it, if an athlete eats on campus, lives on campus and uses their scholarship, what more do they need to get by?

Bleacher Report said in the Covino and Rich radio show that this issue is not highlighting that players also receive stipends.   So not only are their living expenses, food and tuition are paid for, but they also have spending money on the side to use socially, for extra groceries, etc.

A regular student would spend hours at a job to pay off those expenses, whereas it is given to the athletes.  In this case, working for the athletic program may basically all ready pay athletes, but in a hidden way.

Time Magazine mentions the comparison of paying these players thousands of dollars as compared to other players in the minor leagues who are just barely getting by on rent.  These players are getting paid because they are professionals, and they still are not making what some of these college athletes are asking for.

lomboIt’s Still Not Enough

Former Gator baseball player, Jason Lombardozzi, said that all of those costs such as tuition, food and housing do add up, but it is still a lower total than they deserve.

Lombardozzi said that playing baseball is a 40+ hour per week job and for the effort the players put in, they should be compensated.

Lombardozzi himself does not have a full-ride. So by putting in the same amount of hours as some other players, he still is generating debt from school in the process.

Where Would the Line be Drawn?

Title IX would wreak havoc if athletes would start getting paid.  Lawsuit by lawsuit.

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” –Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972

If college football players, an athletic program’s most valuable asset, get paid, they will also have to play the soccer players, field hockey players, swimmers and so on.

Other Repercussions 

Marketplace said that paying players would change the whole recruiting dynamic.  Usually head coaches strongly recruit upcoming prospects, but if athletes will be paid that will diminish that cruciality of the coach’s job.

Not putting effort into drawing in players may affect the coach’s pay or even the relationship between the coach and the team.

About Josslyn Howard

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