College athletics: pay for play


By Wilson Trang

For most of us, the purpose of college is to get an education but it seems today it’s just a way for athletes to turn pro. Professional athletes are getting paid for their talent, why can’t collegiate athletes receive the same or at least a fraction of the benefits of professionals?

Some argue college athletes shouldn’t be getting paid to compete in sports because they already receive benefits from the school, but they are providing a marketable skill. It is only fair that since both are doing the exact same thing on similar levels that they should be compensated for their work. The services they offer the school and audience are a level of competition and a quality of entertainment that only certain individuals with specific physical abilities and skills can provide.

Traditionally, colleges and universities lure prospective athletes by offering scholarships and priority registration but the temptation to sweeten the deal to coax good players has brought shame on some schools that tried it.  Implementing salaries for athletes could help draw players while eliminating the need for unethical bribes and benefits.

A recent scandal surfaced in which New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush’s Heisman trophy was stripped due to NCAA sanctions. Investigators concluded that during Bush’s collegiate football career, he accepted over $300,000 in illegal benefits along with $700,000 in housing for his family from marketing and sports agents. USC was stripped of 30 football scholarships due to the school’s violation and the behavior of Bush and three other athletes.

Allowing the implementation of salaries for college athletes is the logical solution to this problem. The only difference between the professional and college athlete is one receives a salary in the millions, while the other doesn’t. In order to compete with each other, schools and sports agents feel they must offer a prospective athlete bonuses such as money, cars or other expensive prizes.

According to CNN, the college sports industry generates well over $4 billion a year through fans, broadcasters and sponsors. Athletes currently do not receive a single cent for their ticket sales or merchandising from schools. It is only right that we compensate these players with the revenue they generate.

The NCAA needs to wake up to the realities of the modern sports world and begin compensating college athletes. By letting go of this illusion of nobility and allowing them to receive a salary and benefits, schools and players alike wouldn’t suffer these embarrassments for dealing under the table.