Filler #2: College Athlete Pay

Posted by Whit Barringer , Sunday, December 16, 2007 10:31 PM

Oh there is so much I want to say here, because many things have come up in recent news that I would like to blog about. Yet time doesn't permit it. My bedtime has past, and I must be at work very early in the morning. However, finals are over (though they may bite me still). You will hear from me very soon.

Here's one of my higher rated articles on Helium. Enjoy.

Q. Should collegiate athletes receive payment for competing in college athletics?

A. No.

The first and foremost reason a person should go to college is for an education. At the college I attend, men and women's university sports take up to six hours of practice per day. This leaves little time for studies and social interaction, but it is something they choose. Why? Because they get a full scholarship.

Yet so many feel that an education isn't enough - that there has to be cash money involved for it all to be worthwhile. Suddenly, expense-free education isn't a payment - it's a perk. This issue goes far beyond the actual athletic side of things. This is about cost-benefit ratio between education and money-efficiency.

In many small towns around the U.S., kids are given an ultimatum: either the child does well in sports, gets a scholarship, and goes on to become something better, or the child can stay in the small town and follow in the footsteps of those before him or her. In cities across American, poor children and their families are given the same option. Sports are important - not just because they provide physical activity and social situations, but because so many view them as a ticket out of an undesirable situation.

Making college synonymous with big money isn't a desirable image. It changes the focus of the university, layers doubt on credibility, and destroys the trust amongst students, administration, and athletes. College shouldn't be a business. Paying students for sports devalues the education process and turns the whole thing into halfway house for those moving between high school and professional sports.

Also, where would the money come from? Tuition fees under "Athletic Salary"? Or from taxes? It doesn't make sense to put athletes on payroll for anything other than - at most - a free ride. Let's not forget why all students are meant to go to college to receive. Sliding greenbacks under the table and a diploma over the top isn't going to improve a collegiate experience, and pretending that it really is that way will only seek to demean those serious students, faculty, and administrators forced to go along.

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