Debate about college athletes

As college athletics grows and continues to bring large financial gain to universities and corporate sponsors, the debate over paying college athletes persists. Some people think that a fully paid scholarship for these students is fairly enough for talented individuals while others claim that ‘big bucks’ might tempt them to leave the college early for participating in the pros. Despite the variety of opinions the reasonable decision should be implemented in near future in order to help college athletes to make the decisions concerning their future in a free way, not being limited by different restrictions.

According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules, any player under scholarship is forbidden from having a full-time or part-time job (David Nelson). Thus, college athletes do not have an opportunity to earn extra money as the majority of students do. Scholarship is their only way of having money, but it hardly covers education fees, not saying about personal needs. College athletes the same as other students need to buy food, cloths, spend money to rent an apartment or to entertain with friends. Though they do not have a chance to earn such money since they spend most of their time in the gym or in sporting area while exercising, training or playing games among the universities, thus, bringing large amount of money to the universities. In such a way, universities should also take care about those who bring additional funds to them.

Many people claim that big money will prevent college athletes from studies because they will feel superiority over others in money, power, reputation, etc. Also they will need to think about additional things that will prevent them from athletic and academic schedules. There is also an opinion that usually college athletes leave the college earlier in order to participate in the professional sports. Thus, many athletes do not finish their education. They have a good job that brings good money, that is why, they do not even think about completing their courses or graduating from the universities. At the same time some people offer that if college athletes are paid, it is less obvious that they will leave university early.

In the current debate whether to pay college athletes or not, those who have financial needs should be taking into account as well. Since they decided to continue their sport career they expect help and support from the university they study in or some outside sponsor. Otherwise, they can quit sport career for the job in order to earn money for surviving. In such a way, university as well as sport industry loose a very talented and perspective athlete.

Missouri Valley Conference Commissioner Doug Elgin states that there are at least two organizations that provide financial help to all students, including students-athletes and those who are in need. These are NCAA’s Special Assistance and Trust Fund. Doug Elgin as well as Saluki men’s basketball Coach Rich Herrin agrees that paying athletes would not prevent some of them from moving to professional ranks before they graduate. Professional sports provide not only big money, but also fame, which is very important for young athletes as well. During the last years in college many talented athletes meet with potential sponsors who try to insure them to enter this or that team. Sponsors promise good life, fame, big money, luxury car, expensive apartment, etc. All these things are very attractive for young athletes. Their heads are spinning of such large amount of opportunities that they never face before. No wonder that many young athletes choose this good life instead of opportunity to continue their education. “Why should I study further if even now without complete education I can earn such big money?” – some of them would ask. In some extent they are right. Though being so young and faced with great opportunities they forget about the importance of education in “adult life”. What if their sport career will not last long because of some reasons? What they will do outside sports without high education? Thus, the further question occurs: how to insure young athletes that even being perspective sportsmen they still need to finish their education and graduate from the universities? Only some of them understand the importance of education.

Though the controversy deals with the question whether to pay college athletes or not. SIUC junior guard Troy Hudson offers that weekend jobs or summer jobs that do not affect athlete’s athletic and academic schedules could be beneficial. Despite the opposition, which claims that financial aid such as Pell Grant provides support for needy college athletes, Hudson still proves that paying college athletes would make a big difference in preventing them from leaving school early in order to enter the pros. It is well-known fact that most of the players who leave school early do this because of the financial need. That is why, if college athletes are paid there is a chance that more athletes will stay in school for four years, thus, complete their education.
As Debbie Schlussel states, current restrictions prevent athletes from accepting any kind of compensation for their athletic abilities. Otherwise, they will be disqualified from competing at the collegiate level. As it was written above, college athletes are prohibited from taking outside employment. Though recently NCAA issued Proposition 62 that includes an opportunity for college athletes to earn up to $1,500 per year. Actually, this Proposition has to be implemented years ago, but was delayed because of the opposition. In addition the opposition claims that it is not fair if college athletes are paid while other “extra-curricular” activities like school drama or playing some music instrument is unpaid. Though athletes’ supporters give evidence that only athletics provides universities with enormous revenues and only college athletes are prohibited from earning additional satisfactory income while enrolled.

At the same time college athletes in comparison with other students have more responsibility towards the university they study in. First of all, it is because they play in the college or university teams, thus, responsible not only for the efficiency of their game, but also for the image and prestige of the university. In such a way, athletes face with ‘adult’ issues much earlier than other students. College athletes start to think about their career and future life earlier since their performance in university team might greatly influence on the opportunity to be chosen to the pros and later the opportunity for good career, big money and fame.

Many people who state that college athletes live a good life and do not need extra money do not even think about psychological aspect of this issue. Ryan Keith argue that young talented college athletes happen to be between the opportunity to continue their education further or start playing in the pros and get big money, thus, perhaps, never finish the education at all. Being in such situation young people whose personality still develops feel great tension from outside: parents, team coach, friends, and potential sponsors. Their decision is very important for future life. That is why, in many cases this decision is very hard to make. Though lack of money to live or continue education should not influence their decision whether to go to professional sports or stay in school to finish education. That is why, college athletes should be paid, at least, some reasonable amount of money that allows them to make their decisions freely and continue their athletic and academic education. College athletes should feel compensation for those hours they spend in the gym while other students have an opportunity to earn extra money. Financial support might help college athletes to continue their athletic and academic schedules without harming any of them. National Collegiate Athletic Association should take all opinions and needs of students-athletes into account before making the final decision whether to pay college athletes or not. Whatever the decision is, it should consider rights and needs of college athletes as well as opportunities in their future life.


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