Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Why College Athletes Don't Need to be Paid

For as long as I have remembered, the issue of paying college athletes has been prevalent in society. The usual reasoning for it is the fact that most BCS (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East SEC, and Pac 10) conferences and schools make so much revenue because of the athletes on the field that those players deserve a piece of the pie. Stop and think about things for a second.

There are the staunch opponents to that view that say because athletes are getting their education paid for, they should not need to get paid. That is why they are in college says those pundits. I am not on that extreme side of the issue. I believe that college athletes are already getting paid outside of their scholarships. Say you get a full scholarship and still fillout a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). If you are eligible for a pell grant or any other kind of grant, you will be getting an extra $2500 or so per school year. That money is being put towards tuition, room and board or books for a regular student. It is merely money you can put in the bank or spend however you want. This is all on top of certain stipends that the athletes receive because they play for the school. So in fact, they are already getting paid in the truest sense of the word.

Another reason that college athletes should not be paid is because of the boosters at the respective schools, particularly at the BCS schools. There are no specific instances I will bring up, but anyone with a fairly good knowledge of college athletics knows that boosters will help out the athletes that are making their athletic program like a finel-oiled machine. Whether it is under the table or something that is legitimate, they will help them. This is all without athletes getting a true "salary" or "check". Would they really need the extra? These players are allowed to get jobs if they need one as well, and even then they get a better deal out of it than regular folks. Former Oklahoma and Sam Houston State quarterback Rhett Bomar got kicked off the Sooners' team by Head Coach Bob Stoops for a violation of rules by having a job with a pay rate that was way above what is considered normal for the position.

When football players go to bowl games and basketball players go to postseason tournaments, they get gift packages that would make the Grammys blush. I have heard of players getting Xbox 360s, watches, and more. According to NCAA rules, they allow each bowl to award $500 worth of gifts to 125 participants per school. In many cases, schools bring more than that and pay for the rest on their dime. Florida and Oklahoma were essentially given a $300 credit line to spend on Sony Entertainment products that were stocked in a suite. This is the case for all of the bowl games in the country, though not all may be is lavish as the bigger bowls. The athletes are being paid for the successes on the field, but they're still getting PAID!!!! Here is a link that shows what every player on every team got for participating in the different bowl games last season:

College football and basketball are the revenue-generating sports in the NCAA and they usually have an effect on how much money the smaller sports get. How fair would it be to pay just two or three sports and watch the other sports struggle with equipment, recruiting, and facilities? And how realistic would it be to pay every single sport in your athletic department if only a few of the sports are really making any money? Either way it doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense.

An ethical issue that comes up is that players would only come to school to get paid and to play their respective sport. It is already pretty bad because it seems as though that is already the case. Basketball seems especially privy to this given the one-and-done scenario that most talented players seem to go for. In essence, you are paying a player for a year to pay so you can get to the national championship game (like John Calipari and Memphis did with Derrick Rose last season) and even win the national championship (like Syracuse did in 2003). With the little motivation that these kids have to go to class already, paying them for that lack of drive seems like it would be morally wrong.

I understand that not every school in the country has the budget of a BCS school and even some of those schools are tightening their wallet in the wake of this recession.It wouldn't be fair to every school to pay some and not others and the money just is not there right now to do it.

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