College athletes should get paid to play

Shedric Allen and Shedric Allen

The debate about college athletes getting paid has been going on for a while now, but recently has been heated up, specifically with the Johnny Manziel controversy. He is alleged to have taken money from a broker for signing autographs for people. That same day the NCAA had him doing unpaid autograph signings.

There have been many players suspended and teams on probation, even a player stripped of awards like the Heisman because of this issue. College football and basketball generate nearly a billion dollars in revenue in an academic year, not even adding TV deals and apparel sponsors such Nike, Adidas and Under Armour. Let that settle in, and the players don’t get one dime of it.

Over the years people are now seeing how much the athletes are getting nickel-and-dimed. Players aren’t blind; they see their jerseys being sold and they don’t get anything in return.

Players are getting themselves in huge trouble because of money issues and the NCAA just sits back punishing them while collecting checks. In recent interviews, many ex-college players talk about how selfish the NCAA is with its money.

“I’m a firm believer that an employee should get paid for his work and, 100 percent, I see student athletes as an employee,” said former Tennessee running back Arian Foster in a Sports Illustrated interview. That just shows how the NCAA should just be a business like the NFL.

Not every student has the money to survive on a college scholarship and financial aid. Consider the cost of books and supplies students have to pay for. Some athletes go to their rooms with nothing to eat. The athletes are paying with their bodies and the sad thing about it is that the schools aren’t responsible for injuries to a player that require long-term care.

For example, in 2007 player of the name Stanley Doughty suffered a spinal cord injury during a game and South Carolina University ignored the fact he needed surgery. Eventually he couldn’t continue his football career at the next level.

The answer is simple: Athletes should be paid in accordance with how much revenue their schools generate from their performances. The NCAA athletes are providing a service and performing a job for the college.

One more thing: The NCAA does not let student athletes have a job while they are competing in a sport. That is partly because their sport is their job. Doesn’t that sound similar to what happens with professional athletes?

Athletes deserve to have a few dollars to go out and have fun without having to harass their parents or get illegal money from brokers and boosters. Odd that the universities and the NCAA can sell a player’s jersey for $100, but can’t give him $20 to play.