Hypothetically speaking, would you try to be the best at your job if you got paid equally as much for the training?
That is one of the many questions that plague my mind when I consider all the downsides to paying college athletes.
The definition of a student athlete, in my opinion, is a person who receives a shot at a free education in exchange for his/her athletic ability. This does not include employee benefits. The payment comes in the form of an all-expenses-paid education, the same education that several people without those skills are paying big money for.
Full athletic scholarships to a division 1 school average out to over $100,000 per student every year. These include tuition, books, room and board, and a meal plan. They also receive special treatment such as priority scheduling, tutoring assistance, and excused absences. An extra 1,000 dollars for a touchdown catch or a vacation to the Bahamas is a slap in the face to students working two jobs just to afford their basic living needs.
This isn’t a knock on the players who accept these luxuries. I would gladly accept payment now for something I would have to earn later. It’s the American dream. My gripe is with the agents, fans, and alumni who deem it necessary to pay amateurs (college athletes) for pretending to be something they are not…professionals.
The desire to excel in an institution of higher learning is compromised when the incentives of a graduate are handed to you in your freshman year. Paying students who don’t go to class and are given grades to stay eligible is also degrading to their teammates who walk on and don’t receive those same benefits. Enrolling in college and not having to be a student is the biggest oxymoron I’ve ever heard of.
In-depth knowledge of a trade or skill is what separates amateurs from professionals, at which time the necessary compensation is then required. Harnessing your skills to be considered amongst the elite in your sport takes years of hard work and growing pains. Allowing young men and women to bypass the struggle that college students face in no way helps them become productive adults.
The argument that is most relevant to this discussion is the revenue that the school generates at these players’ expense. Funds from ticket sales and paraphernalia generate dollars that these athletes never see. I believe this is how they are compensated for the hours they put in at practice.
Over-hyped players go to college to receive exposure for the future they are hoping to have. If those same players don’t work for their payment, then the level of competition that fans of college football covet will begin to dissipate. Let someone earn a check before you hand them one. That’s just logic.