I'm a huge sports fan. I love playing sports and I love watching sports. It's probably a good thing that I don't have a cable subscription or I would glue myself to the TV and watch ESPN and...well probably the Food Network as well. Regardless, with college football right around the corner, this summer marked an interesting debate among the NCAA and collegiate athletics. I would say that one of the most heated arguments surrounding collegiate sports in this day in age is whether or not college athletes should be paid while attending school. Teams like Miami and Ohio State have been in the news recently about NCAA violations and athletes selling jerseys, receiving money from boosters and other various violations. One of the main arguments for paying athletes is a significant decrease of NCAA violations and punishments handed out. In the end it appears like a win win situation. Athletes get paid, and college don't have to dart around trying to evade the NCAA and fear the repercussions of their students being paid for playing their respective sports. I try not to put too much of my bias in my blogs and get on my soap box, but today I thought I would state my opinion quite plainly. Paying collegiate athletes on top of giving them scholarships is, in my opinion, an awful idea. Here are my thoughts on the matter.
Athletes are getting paid already with scholarship money
Many college athletes are players who are lured in with scholarship money. For instance, the average tuition cost of an out of state student at the University of Alabama is somewhere around $36,000 a year. Generally speaking, most athletes go to schools in different states then where they were raised. An athlete that has received a full scholarship will not worry about tuition or room and board. Multiply this by four years, and that athlete has received $144,000 to play sports at their university. Granted, many schools split up their scholarships so there are fewer full ride athletes, but even still. Paying an athlete on top of the scholarships they are already receiving seems a bit crass. Shouldn't the free education be payment enough?
Many college athletic departments traditionally lose money
Paying college athletes means that there needs to be more money designated towards sports. I don't know if you've kept up with the news, but many colleges and universities have ended up cutting programs because of budgetary issues. While I was attending the University of Maine, both the women's volleyball team and men's soccer team were cut so money could be saved. Now you are telling me that paying athletes is going to make life easier? Where will that money come from, and at what cost? Two years ago, UMaine ended up half a million dollars in the red. Many other athletic programs across the country are in the same boat.
You lose the integrity of what collegiate sports are about
I stopped watching the NBA for a very long time because it turned into a huge whine fest. Players are making millions of dollars to flop on the floor, cry when they don't get called for fouls and hold out to make more money. I love watching college basketball because the athletes who are on the court are playing with heart. They are playing for the pride because they aren't worrying about a paycheck. Call me crazy, but until playoff time, I see much more passion in collegiate sports then I do in professional sports. A major upset in college sports in season is much more adrenaline pumping than the Detroit Lions overtaking the New England Patriots. Paying college athletes will essentially turn the NCAA into every other pro organization.
So there you have it. These are the reason I am absolutely against paying college athletes. Playing sports in college is a privilege. There's no need to be paying these players anymore than what they are receiving right now. At the end of the day, I say, keep the NCAA pure and let the kids play for pride. Money is coming in the form of scholarships, and will come later on in life just like the rest of us.
What's your stance? Should college athletes get paid?