- By Jason Dougas Lewis
- In On the Soapbox
Please do not argue with the Sports Editor. That’s like a student athlete accepting extra benefits and expecting the program not to get in any trouble. It just doesn't make any sense. Illustration by David G. Brown
Article originally published by the Los Angeles Sentinel. www.lasentinel.net
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor (2010-2013)
I am changing my stance on paying college athletes, namely big time football and basketball players.
In previous articles I have written that they should not be paid. I mean, a $30,000-$70,000 scholarship, depending on the school, which includes free housing and meals, a free education, and the opportunity to graduate from college without any debt from school loans, just is not enough.
Some players, such as the ones who have played at the University of Miami since 2001, have needs that are not covered by the universities.
About100 Miami players, according to booster Nevin Shapiro, were in need of jewelry, expensive nights out at the club, and lavish yacht parities that included prostitutes.
Athletic scholarships do not provide college players any of that, so to avoid boosters flipping the bill for a professional athlete type lifestyle, it’s time to start paying these players.
Okay, I really do not believe that, and it goes to show that student athletes, in general, do not need to be paid. The benefits that the Miami players received were not out of need, it was out of the desire to live it up like NFL or NBA players.
When Ohio St. football players were trading conference championship rings and other goods that they had received, they were not trading them for basic needs to get by, they were trading them for tattoos.
One Ohio St. player did mention the need to pay rent, but why is he having problems paying for cost of living when universities give athletes money for living expenses if they choose to live off of campus.
The reality is that these student athletes, like many young adults, do not budget their money properly and stretch themselves too thin. Money is spent on having a good time, or looking cool, instead of living costs, so now they have their hands out claiming that they are broke and can barely get by.
Many professional athletes blow their money on expensive cars, jewelry, clothes, and women. If college athletes were paid, does anybody think that they would spend their money any differently?
Did USC running back Reggie Bush really need a large house for his parents? Did Ohio St. quarterback Terrelle Pryor really need cars from a local auto dealership?
USC is dinged hard for the Bush scandal, and Ohio St. is still waiting for the NCAA’s decision on their violations. But Miami, they should be handed college sports death penalty for what went on there for a nine-year period.
It can be argued that USC and Ohio St. did not receive a competitive advantage because their players were already at the school when they committed the violations. But, according to Shapiro, he spent about $2 million on Miami’s program, and it helped recruit football and basketball players to the school. That is a competitive advantage, which is why the penalties should be extremely hard.
USC’s penalty should be a slap on the wrist compared to what Miami should get. SMU, who was busted for paying several players in the early 1980s, was banned from college football for the 1987 season, and because of the loss of scholarships, they were unable to field a team in 1988.
If Shapiro’s claims are true, Miami is right there with SMU.
This is a problem that goes on at several big time universities. Hopefully not to the extent as it did at Miami, but the desire for these college athletes to act like they are big time professional players is so great, and there are so many so called boosters who want to latch on to these college programs, that paying these athletes would not stop the greed that is going on in college sports.
A scholarship worth several thousand dollars and the opportunity for a better life, at no cost to the athlete, is just not enough. While many students are worried about their financial aid payments to go through, or how they are going to pay for books, or how they are going to pay off well over $100,000 of student loans, many of these athletes are more worried about having money to look cool in the club.