College athletes are already paid
Posted by Richard Lowe
I was asked last night about my opinion of college athletes getting paid and realized that I never documented this. This answer has always been a simple one for me.
College athletes are already paid with their scholarship.
Depending on what school they attend, they could make several hundred thousands of dollars in their total time in school. The issue for college athletes is that they don’t value what they are being paid because they never actually see money touch their hands. I hate when I hear folks say that should get stipends or anything else in addition to the scholarship that they already receive.
Division 1 athletes get total tuition paid for, housing, books, and meals taken care of. They make money for their school just like other students make money for their school by working on projects for national/international awards. But science kids don’t perform in front of 100,000 screaming fans at Neyland Stadium so it’s a different perspective. Both students have opportunities beyond their time in school to do great things with their skills. Kids who win Heisman trophies, Naismith awards, end up on the cover of magazines and posters, and get drafted in the first round should be grateful that the school put them in that position.
I had a theory back around 2005-2006 that I said on my radio show that if you want to pay college athletes then give them their full tuition, housing, and meal money in cash when they step foot on campus and make them responsible for paying their own way through school. So if they go to Harvard, they get a year’s worth of everything in August. Same thing for Central Michigan, Alabama, all the SUNY schools, and anywhere else. They can use that money on anything they want but it’s recommended that it is used to pay for school, just like every other kid who is on campus. See how many kids actually return to school that next year. You’ll have kids become ineligible to play because they didn’t pay their bills. You’ll have kids bullshit their way through the first semester and choose not to come back that next semester. Some athletes will use that as seed money for a business. Some will blow it all on drugs, sex, and other frivolous things.
Current ESPN analyst Jay Bilas is a huge proponent of paying athletes but the only issue I see with him arguing for this is that Duke has paid for ALL of his education. He was an undergrad at Duke and, when he graduated, he ended on Mike Krzyzewski’s coaching staff and got his law degree while working there. So in both cases, the school took care of all of his bills. We’re talking over $200,000 for his undergrad career and over $140,000 for his law degree! So yes, he can relate to college athletes because he was one of them but he, like many others, tend to forget or just never mention the benefits that college athletes do receive.
College athletes provide great publicity for their schools and great excitement for students and fans, alike. But they are more than taken care of. They will be OK.