Student-athletes go through particular trials and tribulations in order to make their team, coaches, fans and student body satisfied.
There’s early-morning conditioning, mid-day lifting, late-night practice. There’s limited time to address the challenges of academic work and to maintain standing to qualify as a student athlete.
Still, unlike the 58 percent of student athletes who’d prefer a paycheck from their institutions, I don’t think college players should be paid.
A few years back, the Northwestern University football team sought to unionize because they claimed to be employees of the university for which they generate millions of dollars.
Although that equation may be true, the university pays for their tuition and housing for at least four years. The annual expense of $63,983 qualifies as fair compensation and exchange for their effort.
The University of Richmond costs about the same amount, and our student athletes have not asked to be paid. We understand our role. The work (sports), the payment (a scholarship) and the control (the university has the power to nullify scholarships, not to mention that the NCAA has several detailed codes of athlete conduct) are clearly spelled out.
We represent our school academically and athletically. We understand the blessings of being student athletes without actual paychecks. The dollars the team generates helppay for fresh gear, consistent plane and bus rides, commendable food, and trips abroad. The staff needs to be paid for coaching, scouting and recruiting.
The NCAA provides insurance that covers us if we’re injured while playing for our school. Through 2004, there were 200,000 injury reports filed when an athlete missed a day or more of practice or competition. That works out to about 12,500 injuries per year.
It is almost inevitable to have an injury during your four years playing college sports. Most players are injured more than once; sometimes even more often. That insurance pays for the treatment to keep the players in the best shape possible. The funding for the insurance comes from the revenue that teams generate.
If student athletes were to be paid, it would also be unfair for those who don’t play college sports.
How is it fair for a student athlete to attend the school for free and on top of that receive funding? In the eyes of a nonathlete student, it could be perceived as walking among professional athletes.
LeBron James is a paid professional athlete who never attended college.
If student athletes receive payment for their athletic skills, what distinguishes them from the professional athlete?
As a student athlete, I know that when we sign on the black line, we agree to follow the guidelines of the NCAA, basically signing away our free time. We agree that “
We are students first, and athletes second. If an athlete is superior in intercollegiate competition, then he or she will have the choice and opportunity to become a pro athlete.