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Should College Athletes Be Paid?

Thoughts By: Coach Brown

I've had several passionate debates about the topic of college athletes being paid, and as a former collegiate athlete, I wholeheartedly stand on the side of college athletes being paid some type of stipend.

The major argument against college athletes getting paid is that they get full scholarships to receive a free education, but this is a half-truth because the majority of college athletes do not receive full rides and do have to pay some money to attend school. Do some research, you will find the information.

Now, whatever scholarship is received definitely does not equal what the athletes generate for the school and I am basically referring to the Division 1 schools that are football and basketball factories for the most part. Don't get take what I'm saying the wrong way, I do believe it is the student-athlete's responsibility to graduate from school, but at the same time I believe there is a way to compensate these student-athletes for what they do for these institutions.

These schools literally generate billions of dollars (from TV & Radio contracts; uniform, clothing & shoe deals, jersey sales, video games, etc.) using quote on quote amateur athletes. How can this be an equal tradeoff when a college/university can continue to use a student-athlete's likeness even after that person has graduated or used up all their eligibility, and the school doesn't have to pay them a dime? That's grand theft larceny isn't it?

PBS and HBO (Tonight! 3-30-11) are doing specials on college athletes getting paid and I suggest all the parents with aspiring college athletes to tune-in to hear and see what has happened, what is currently going on and to see what might be happening by the time our children become "student-athletes."

*Checkout Jalen Rose's (ESPN/ABC Sports Analyst; former NBA player; University of Michigan "Fab Five" Basketball Team Member) article below on Should College Athletes Be Paid? (Jet Magazine; March 21-28, 2011; pg. 48)

I have a solution I believe would be helpful to the many student-athletes across the country and alleviate some of the debate about whether college players should be paid. As a former college basketball player at the University of Michigan, I have lived by the rules of the NCAA and also faced its consequences when those rules were broken.

Collegiate athletes should be paid a stipend of $2,000.00 per semester. Universities, coaches and staff benefit financially from the success of these student-athletes. For example, the NCAA just signed a 14-year, $10.8 billion contract with CBS and Turner Broadcasting to televise its men's basketball tournament.

The NCAA advocates will scream student-athletes are paid via education, but keep in mind, athletes are not only recruited for their grade point average and test scores. College athletes are recruited for their skill level and how they can help boost visibility of the university and its program. Furthermore, student-athletes spend a considerable amount of time honing their athletic abilities, though few of them will turn professional. It would be nearly impossible to maintain a part-time job even if it was permissible by the NCAA.

For those who believe the NCAA stresses education over athletics for its student-athletes, bear this in mind: An athlete's scholarship can be taken away at any time, regardless of his/her GPA. The Athletic Department has the authority to rescind a player's scholarship, no matter how well they perform in the classroom.

My solution of providing a $2,000.00 per semester stipend to student-athletes will at least offer these kids a drop in the bucket to cover living expenses and earn some well deserved money during their college career.

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