Lately, sports news has been resurrecting the age-old question of whether or not college athletes should be paid. Many wonder if paying college athletes would forever change the nature of the game. A lot of fans say they’d rather watch college sports; somehow they think it’s devoid of politics and the almighty dollar so prevalent in the NFL. Others wonder why college athletes haven’t been paid thus far since their bodies are on the line in each and every game.
Let’s look at three top points to make the case for paying college athletes.
Point #1 Just because a college kid gets a scholarship that includes a meal plan and housing doesn’t mean he has access to unlimited funds, or any funds at all for that matter; to order pizza on the weekend, buy some new socks or jeans, or even go home during breaks. A small wage would help college athletes have a balanced life apart from their athletic activities.
Point #2 Who says college sports is for the fun of it? It’s a multi-billion dollar business and players should be compensated for their time…heck, everyone else is. Schools get paid. Coaches get paid. Team medical staff gets paid. Everyone gets their piece of their pie except the player himself. A college education is no longer an even exchange for playing; it hasn’t been for a long time. College sports is less than a stone’s throw from professional sports in that billions of dollars are made from advertising, media, luxury boxes, ticket sales and beyond. Players, especially star players, make their schools a boatload of cash. Players don’t see a dime of that money.
Point #3 College athletes deserve to get paid. They put their bodies on the line, and are often afflicted with career-ending injuries that hand them a one-way ticket out of sports forever. Besides their education, what have they got to show for their efforts? Some say players should get a job for extra expenses incurred. Uh, when is this supposed to happen? With classes, studying, multiple practices, mandatory weight room time and game travel time, not to mention league rules, players are often restricted from outside jobs.
Players don’t need to make millions but come on, even minimum wage for hours worked or a weekly allowance would make it a lot easier on these players; many from low-income families and under-privileged areas of the country. Also, pay needs to be on an equal playing field – star athletes and bench warmers alike should receive the same amount, starting out, then perhaps a graduated scale depending on grade level.
Whether you agree or not, paying college athletes is a topic that needs to be tackled by the industry. It’s a complicated, on-going issue with a plethora of what if’s involved and a front line of opposition. My own opinion is, let these players get paid what they’re worth – a workman is worthy of his hire – it’s not going to drain the money pots of those getting rich off of them anyway.