(EDITOR’S NOTE: Nick and I got into a debate last week when everyone was hammering the NCAA in the media. I argued athletes should get paid while he maintains the opposite stance. The only way to settle it? Columns of course. We ask you to get in on the debate as well by commenting in one of our two pieces. Should the NCAA alter its stance and pay college athletes? Let us know what you think.)
By Nick Childs
I would first like to make a quick apology to the Gen Y community for not writing in so long. Thankfully the other contributors have been doin an incredible job.
Today’s topic is paying collegiate athletes. I have given this dilema a lot of thought over the last few months while it has been a growing debate that brings about very passionate opinions.
I’m not extremely familiar with all the number’s, so I am focusing on what I believe is best for the sanctity of the NCAA.
Collegiate athletics are special. There is nothing quite like March Madness or Bowl Season, and I think it is because we get to watch these kids play at such an incredibly high level. These are 18, 19, 20, or in BYU’s case, 26-year-olds doing things that we all dream we could do.
They play the game for the fee of a free education, at best. This is why I love the NCAA. What are the best stories? Those are the ones where a player has overcome great adversity or walked-on to a team and been a major contributor. I think that special aspect of collegiate athletics vanishes when you start paying players.
Many of the people’s opinion that I respect the most think that NCAA athletes should be paid, but I just can’t jump on the bandwagon. I can’t get past the idea that a free education isn’t enough.
NCAA Division I football programs are not even allowed to give partial scholarships. It’s all or nothing, and they have over 80 of them to give out. That is an investment of nearly $100,000 in most cases in these athletes.
Yes, they are technically only a one-year scholarship that is renewed each year, but programs are not allowed to drop these scholarships due to lack of athletic success, and their is an appeal process to insure that this is the case.
I’m not sure what the exact numbers are, but only about 1 percent of college athletes will go on to become professionals in their given sports, so what is the best thing that these schools can give these athletes? Answer: a free education.
A college degree is one of the most valuable things that these athlete’s can be given. I would say its much more valuable than some extra cash that they would probably blow on petty things that won’t last.
A degree from an American university will go much farther than anything else. Maybe, we should stop worrying about who isn’t getting paid and start working on graduating more of our athletes.
Where would the money be coming from, anyways? The universities certainly can’t afford to pay their athletes. Athletic budgets are getting slashed nation-wide and entire athletic departments are even getting cut.
If I’m not mistaken, this means some third-party would be the ones paying the athletes. This is incredibly sketchy to me.
It’s true that these athlete’s probably aren’t compensated as much as they should be for the money that they are generating, but that’s what they have signed up for.
As a college athlete, myself, a mere month away from the end of my career, I can say with complete confidence that I would do anything to play quarterback at Auburn or point guard at Duke or shortstop at Arizona State. It’s every little kid’s dream, and somewhere we have lost sight of being appreciative for opportunities that we have and instead worrying about what we might not be getting.
There is something different about college athletics, something special. These kids play with fire; they play with passion. And I think they do that because they are still playing for the love of the game, or at least, they are still somewhat playing for the love of the games.
There is a theory out there that talks about how external motivations ruin intrinisic motivations. Essentially, when athletes are given other things such as money or scholarships, they stop playing for the love of the game, and they start being motivated by external things. Paying college athletes would increase athlete’s external motivations, and probably kill that special passion that we love watching so much.
Losing that incredible part of the game would be so sad to see.
No matter what arguments I hear that are for athletes getting paid, they don’t outweigh the great potential risks to collegiate athletics.
That’s just me. Who knows, maybe Matt will be able to persuade me otherwise!