Show Me the Money
The NCAA is exploring the idea of paying student-athletes after legislation in California and other states was recently passed that found it legal to pay student-athletes for the use of their likeness. A lot of this stems from doing so in video games.
Here’s why this is good. The NCAA exploits its student-athletes. I don’t care what anyone says otherwise—this to me is true. The NCAA makes truckloads of money from college football and basketballs and now, the conferences are cashing in with the creation of exclusive sports networks. In addition, at most schools, the best fundraisers work for the athletic department. And, every school has at least one deep-pocketed booster who is just printing money for them. I’m not judging that—I’ve donated to my alma mater’s Virginia Commonwealth University’s athletic department.
To be clear, I don’t have an issue with students being paid for their likeness. Hell, as far as I’m concerned, they should get paid if their name is on a jersey. This is Capitalism. It’s what keeps this country running and I’m all for the little guy getting paid.
If this does happen, there will have to be a lot of oversight. After all, student-athletes have been getting paid under the table or compensated for decades. Again, if it shits on the NCAA’s exploitive nature, I’m good with it. That said, I do have some reservations. I’ll explore those in part two.
No Way—Don’t Pay
Here’s my issue with paying student-athletes. They are already getting paid. Room, board, and a free education (or a discounted one). I’d actually propose that schools can force a student-athlete to pay back their scholarship if they don’t earn a degree or leave school early yo go pro. But that is a conversation for another day.
But, like I said in part one, the best athletes are already getting paid. Quite frankly, leagues like the NFL and NBA should be subsidizing schools for the free minor league system college athletics provide for them. Again, a conversation for another day.
My biggest issue with paying is how money will only flow to football and men’s basketball. Those are the big budget sports. So, what about the women’s programs and other sports. Do those get left out? And what about the smaller schools and lower division schools? How will this shake out for them?
And let’s not forget, these are STUDENT-athletes. Not the other way around. I know that there is a good argument that a lot of these kids go to school as a stepping stone to pro sports but that is only a small few on the grand scale. Ultimately, they are at school to get an education.
My other concern is where do we draw the line. Do we start paying high school athletes? It’s bad enough that middle-schoolers are being offered scholarships these days.
So, to summarize—I’m FORGAINST it. That means that a lot more thought needs to go into this. I’m all for sticking it to the NCAA but we have to consider how it will affect student-athletes across the board.
RobbUnfiltered is a sports podcast based out of Richmond, Va. Find me on Twitter @RobbUnfiltered. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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