By Kyle Coan
Student-athletes who play in the NCAA are required to maintain their amateur status. This is because the NCAA maintains that they want to preserve the integrity of college sports and protect athletes. Proponents of this claim that student-athletes already recieve a free education and other benefits. However, very few student-athletes receive a “free” education. By allowing athletes to get paid or at the very least, accept prize money would not affect the integrity of college sports.
According to NCAA.org, about 56% of Division I student-athletes receive some level of aid. This leaves out 44% of student-athletes who, like non-student-athletes, have to pay their way through school. If you look at the 56% percent of student-athletes that receive athletic aid, very few of those athletes have full-ride scholarships. Each sport has a limited amount of scholarship money that is to be used for athletes; therefore, it is challenging to give athlete’s full aid.
Student-athletes do indeed receive other benefits, such as, early enrollment for classes, an athletic scholarship that can cover books, living expenses, and in some cases, dining halls passes but we need to understand that athletes sacrifice 20 plus hours of every week for their sport can take away from their school experience. Non-athletes can allocate more time to studying and having part-time jobs that can cover some of their expenses. They also have the time to have internships, which is extremely important to have when going into the workforce. They will have the work experience and, therefore, will be able to get the jobs that athletes might not be able to get.
Along with this, athletes are often bringing in money for their college. In some cases, schools make money off the athlete, they sell tickets for the game, merchandise, television contracts (contracts for the big schools to air their games), endorsement deals (apparel companies pay certain schools to be the provider of athletic clothing for athletes to wear which will then be photographed), the list goes on. Food for thought, why is it ok for someone else to make money off a student-athlete?
* Originally published on November 7, 2016, by LRT Staff