- By Jason Dougas Lewis
- In On the Soapbox
Former UCLA Bruin Price has earned the right to cash the big checks in the NFL. But paying players before they get there would be a mistake. Photo by Jason Lewis
Article originally published by the Los Angeles Sentinel. www.lasentinel.net
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor (2010-2013)
Obviously boosters or agents paying student-athletes leads to corruption in college sports. In the wake of the Reggie Bush scandal, which earned USC a two-year bowl band and a loss of 30 scholarships, the age-old question has emerged yet again.
Should the NCAA and universities officially pay student-athletes?
Many believe that they should be paid, and that it would put an end to the under the table deals that some star players make. Another train of thought is that the NCAA makes billions of dollars, so the athletes deserve their fair share. The athletes are the product, just like in professional sports, so they should get their fair share.
So again, should NCAA athletes be paid? Why should college students who generate billions of dollars for the NCAA and millions of dollars for their schools be broke while the NCAA gets rich? While universities and television networks rake in millions of dollars? While top of the line head coaches have multimillion-dollar contracts?
The answer to the question is no!
Talk about opening Pandora’s box. That’s one genie that’s best left in the bottle and one cat that would cause havoc if let out the bag. There are way too many problems that will emerge by paying college athletes.
If the star running back is paid, will the 4th string running back, who never sees the field, also be paid? Will that backup player be paid just as much as the starter? There is a huge problem that will emerge there. If the starter gets paid more the backup might just transfer to a school where he can be the starter to get paid more money.
Will all teams have an equal budget, or will teams like Texas or USC be able to pay out more money because they generate more? If that were the case then the big time programs would be able to buy the best players. Schools like Boise St. are already at a disadvantage when recruiting against the top schools in the nation. If Texas was allowed to pay their players more money, schools like Boise St. would not have a chance to compete.
Not all NCAA football teams are as profitable as others. USC can easily afford more than Baylor. Why would any players play for a school like Colorado St. when they could easily make more money playing at Florida?
What about schools that do not make any profits at all? How will they be able to pay any player, and what player will go there knowing that there will be no money to be made.
And since the big time quarterback is being paid, will the water polo player also be paid? He’s a starving college athlete too.
Football and basketball are the two most profitable NCAA sports (that does not mean that all programs are making money). If football and basketball players are getting paid, Title IX supports will be there to make sure that women’s college athletes, whose sports generally operate at a loss, get paid just as much as their male counterparts.
What about Division I-AA and Division 2 schools? Are their athletes going to be paid too? Where is all of this money coming from?
It’s just not feasible to pay NCAA athletes, and it is really not needed. Many of these student-athletes are getting their tuition fully paid for, as well as their hosing and meals. That’s not enough?
Most student-athletes are never going to play professional sports, including big time football and basketball players. That alone makes their scholarship and potential college degree extremely valuable. Schools are investing at least a couple hundred thousand dollars into these players, so it is silly to think that these athletes are being pimped.
A lot of the big time athletes get upset when they see their jersey being sold in the student store. The school makes a profit while the player doesn’t see a dime. But a player who is good enough to have his jersey sold is more than likely on his way to the NFL or NBA, where he will make millions of dollars.
Sure, the schools make their profits, but the player needs the universities more than the universities need any one individual player. Bush needed USC, or another NCAA school, to get to the NFL to make his millions. USC was able to showcase his abilities and put him in a position to obtain a professional career.
Lets see Bush sign a $60+ million contract without playing college football. If he felt pimped, he could have sat out for three years after he graduated from high school and then tried to enter the draft without playing college football. How far would he have gotten? He would not have even been considered for the draft.
These players cannot get themselves the exposure to get drafted. But the universities can, and it can be viewed as a service that the players are getting for free. Actually, the players are in a sense being paid while getting that service. They are being paid with a free education and room and board. How is that not enough?
Nobody ever thinks it all the way through when they make the statement that players should be paid. It is just not possible, and the players are already given so much for free.