College sports pave the way for the professional sports we all love, and the athletes work just as hard at their sport as they do in the classroom, to perfect their skill and strive to reach pro status. Many believe that the scholarship money that many athletes receive is not good enough and that they should in fact be compensated a bit more generously. After all, the directors, coaches and other athletic staff rake in substantial paychecks. It is felt that some of that wealth should be distributed to the players as well.
Of course, this thinking has sparked a huge debate in the sports and educational media. Here are what some experts had to say about it.
Joe Nocera, a journalist for the New York Times is for paying college athletes, saying that many scholarships don’t even cover the full costs of attending college, which is offensive. Their unpaid hard work and consistent efforts are enabling a $6 billion industry (this is just men’s basketball and football). He says that it is unfair to take advantage of these athletes who work 40 to 50 hours a week at their sport. To most college athletes, their sport is a full time job. They have to then squeeze in classes and ensure that they maintain their studies, whilst huge restrictions are being placed on them by the NCAA.
He goes on to say, “All the money they are generating trickles up to everyone else in the system.” This is evident in the recent contract that Ohio State’s new football coach, Urban Meyer, signed which sees him receiving $4 million per year. Nocera explains in his New York Times article about how much players should receive and precisely how the funding could work, by way of a salary cap and minimum salary. He said, “Players, many of whom come from impoverished backgrounds, need money, just like every other kid on campus.”
Rick Burton, Professor of Sport Management at Syracuse University says that we shouldn’t muddy the waters by over analyzing what athletes bring to colleges. He said, “We’re talking about students who regularly train in state-of-the-art multi-million dollar practice and training facilities, who live in athlete-specific facilities (with first-class amenities) and more. They receive all these benefits plus their scholarships.”
Ramogi Huma, President of the National College Players Association (NCPA) and former UCLA football player doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. “College athletes receive scholarships that are worth tens of thousands of dollars, a portion of which is taxed by the IRS as income. Athletes who fail to participate in mandatory practices or games have their scholarships terminated. So, college athletes are already paid to play.”
Huma goes on to say, “We first need to realize that the NCAA and its colleges have no problem paying players. They’ve done so for almost 60 years. The real issue is that the NCAA and its colleges don’t want to increase payments to college athletes. College athletes will be the first to tell you how fortunate they are to have their opportunities.”