I suppose the question of students in sports getting paid has been around for decades now. To be sure, I don’t think there is an easy answer. I certainly find reasons for them being paid and I find reasons for them not getting paid. However, I think the answer becomes somewhat clearer when we ask the question: Are the students going to school to learn or to play sports?
Maybe we can turn the question around. Are they students playing sports or are they athletes going to school.
If their purpose is to make money, why not let them be paid and not require them to maintain the academics. If their purpose is education, why pay them to play sports.
Currently, when you come right down to it, many are being paid to play sports, but not in cash. They get a free education as well as room and board. At today’s cost of college, that’s not bad. That is the equivalent of, maybe a hundred grand a year. That’s not bad for throwing around a ball.
On the other hand, there are hardship matters. A young guy shows up to college and gets the education while his family starves. Sure, in four years, he gets paid a million to throw that ball around, but what does he do in the meantime. To be sure a person can starve in four years.
Then too, there is the concept of earnings. The athlete earns the money, but the college collects it. Indeed, the athlete might well bring enough money into a college that he more than pays for the education. Worse, if he gets injured, he is out on his ear. He gets neither the education nor the money. Also, most college students don’t make it in the pros. Some have been known to finish four years of college, get a degree and then they weren’t able to read it. If they don’t make it in the pros, where is he then?
My brother was one who was against athletics in college altogether. I certainly disagreed with him, but he does have a point. As with my original question, why go to college, school or sports? Frequently, one gets in the way of the other. At one time, athletes were required to have a major and they had to maintain a C average in that major. Currently, if a man can throw a 97 mile an hour fastball, he will maintain the average, even if he can’t. If the one college won’t accept him, another will, regardless of his scholastic ability.
I suppose one solution would be to separate the two. You want to play for this college, you can keep 90% of your earnings, as long as you pay for your education. Instead of paying for the scholarship, the school simply pays the salary. This does, of course interfere with his amateur standings, but all of that is just a facade anyway. Athletes are already routinely paid for their talent, if nothing else, in room and board.
The truth is, I don’t know. I don’t have any answers. However, we just might start by trying to be a little more honest about it all. Regardless, the NCAA should make hardship allowances. They should be applied for and allowed on an individual basis.
Oh. One more thing. They really do need to go back to requiring an honest C grade average. Either that, or divorce the athletics from the sports. When a college gives out diplomas to those who don’t earn them, it waters down the value of the diploma.