Special to The Leader
Student athletes aren’t professional athletes who are signed to contracts and paid salaries. Just because a college athlete performs well on the field doesn’t mean they’re entitled to receiving a paycheck. The purpose of college is to learn and receive an education that will prepare you for the rest of your life. Playing sports at a collegiate level is not a job; it is simply a gateway towards receiving a higher education.
According to Sean Estrada, a former football player at the University of Pennsylvania, “Education was always important for me. Not many people in my extended family ever had the opportunity to receive education after high school, so I tried to never take the opportunity for granted,” he said.
“I stayed all four years and didn’t leave college early for a few reasons,” Estrada continued. “First, I wasn’t sure if I would have the opportunity to continue playing football in the NFL after college, so I took as much time as I could to refine myself as a player while at the University of Pennsylvania. Second, I really wanted to graduate on time and to take full advantage of every opportunity that was afforded to me while in school.”
These scholarships are payment enough because student athletes already receive athletic scholarships which essentially cover all of their tuition, room and board and meal plan. According to NCAA.org, “NCAA Divisions I and II schools provide more than $2.9 billion in athletic scholarships annually to more than 150,000 student-athletes. Full scholarships cover tuition and fees, room, board and course-related books.”
A typical student athlete who attends Georgetown University on a sports scholarship covering their costs of tuition, room and board, and other fees, totals an average cost of $66,971.
With college being as expensive as it is now, being a student athlete is definitely a great way to prevent being in debt after college. If the day comes where players actually do get paid, does each individual player receive the same amount of money? Or do the ones that perform well get paid more?
Universities generate most of their revenue from basketball and football, but that doesn’t mean only those specific teams deserve to get paid. If you plan on paying student-athletes, you have to pay every single team including track and field, golf, tennis, baseball; the list goes on.
Additionally, if there are still athletes complaining about going to bed hungry at night because they couldn’t afford to buy extra food (i.e., Shabazz Napier) they can receive money through other sources such as grants, self employment, injury insurance, international competition, as well as educational scholarships.
At the end of the day, student athletes shouldn’t be worried about receiving a paycheck — they should be focused on receiving an education. You’re receiving a free education, so why not take advantage of it? Not a lot of students have access to attend college and even more struggle with coming up with the money to continue.
Lastly, when players play a sport, they shouldn’t play the sport to earn money, fame or fortune. It should be because of the love and the passion they have for the game.
Paying non-professional athletes would tarnish the quality of the game. It would ruin the on-field product because they would no longer be playing for the love of the game. There is a potential that game plays can be compromised from people who may want to pay them on the side to throw a game away.
Will the game stay a true sport, or turn into controversy between players because one player is being paid more than the other?