Over the past few days, Texas A&M Quarterback Johnny Manziel has been at the center of attention and controversy in the world of college football. ESPN reported that he took part in an autograph signing as part of a “five-figure” agreement in south Florida at the BCS Championship Game in January. Since the report surfaced, many radio and television hosts, pundits and more have debated as to whether or not college athletes should be paid.
I do not think that they should be paid. However, it is absurd to think as well that the NCAA can continue to cash in on player’s likeness either in video games, merchandising sales and more. If anything, that money should be used collectively as a post football fund for players or something along those lines. There are two big problems I have with players being paid. The first one is that each sport has a different value to it. Like it or not, men’s basketball and college football are by far the two most popular sports for colleges. The value to which a player like Tim Tebow or Johnny Manziel has to their school is immensely more than a women’s basketball player at Kennesaw State. There are also different values to the players themselves and that could cause a distraction to teams also. If the third string quarterback knows he’s getting paid considerably less than the first string quarterback, there could be rifts along the way and just seems like it would be an unnecessary problem.
The second problem I have with college athletes getting paid is that it ruins the purity of these sports. Olympic athletes don’t get paid and they are representing their country, not a school. The NCAA should forever remain an amateur organization. Honestly, once there are so many dollars being thrown around, it ruins the game. Quite frankly, it already has.
College administrators over the last decade have gotten incredibly greedy once they realized how popular college athletics had gotten and wanted a slice of the pie. As a sports fan, one who respects sports for what they are and their history, I really question the decision some of these colleges are making. They’re ruining rivalires like Syracuse-Georgetown in basketball or West Virginia-Pittsburgh in football. You don’t fix what isn’t broken. The problem is now, athletic directors main goals is to make money for the school, which a lot of them do thanks to big time television contracts and such, but at what cost?
College sports are being ruined by greed. Once colleges become all about money, you can bet athletes soon will follow. Obviously, the example used for years to come will be that of Penn State University. The idea that so many adults lied and covered up what had been happening with Jerry Sandusky and those kids for years to protect the brand that is their football team is an utter disgrace and should be an example of how college athletics have gotten to a point where money matters over ethics and it should never come to that point. That is inexcusable and they should be ashamed. But I am sure they’re not the only ones that are hiding something.
Many people who do not think college athletes should be paid usually say they already are. Their tuition is paid for and that usually costs upwards of 100,000 dollars, not only that but with a college degree, your potential job prospects are exponentially higher. College sports gives some kids from bad backgrounds and broken homes a chance to succeed and better themselves in life. That fact is often overlooked. Without college sports, who knows where some of these players would end up.
Another reason why I have a big problem with athletes getting paid is that fairly often, you will see a former player become a paid coach or work in some capacity with another team down the line after their playing career is done. While that is to be expected to an extent, the college scholarship is only supposed to guarantee the student athlete an education, it is not supposed to help get them a job as well, especially in how tough of a job finding environment their peers are working in. That is not right. That element of it is absolutely ridiculous and who colleges are hiring should be heavily investigated, because there are some elements of it which just seem broken. An example I’ll use is recently I applied to my alma mater, Monmouth University, to work in the same department that I worked for three years during my time as a student. There was no contact for an interview, even though the job was basically the same thing I’d been doing as a student. There was a girl at Monmouth I know who was on the women’s basketball team and upon her graduating, she took a job at Monmouth with the basketball team. What annoyed me about it though, is she was basically one of the last people off the bench and to be fair, her accomplishments on her biography were far more prolific at her high school than at Monmouth. We’re both graduates of the same school. You have to treat alum the same way. Either you give preference to both former students and athletes or you don’t, it should not be a one way street. My money is just as good as their money.
The only two things that would work when it comes to compensating players potentially is to either give each player a monthly stipend, which I’d be fine with, or creating a school “salary cap” in which you could give players a maximum or minimum amount of money they could get and I think that’d be fair to without starters making so much more than backups. That is the only way I think players could earn money.
The bottom line is that although college football and basketball are very popular, the vast majority of college athletes play because they enjoy the sport they play and it gives them a chance to get a college education. That is what an amateur athlete should be. Once college players start getting paid, it will ruin college sports as we know it. It has become way too much about money in a hurry and has really irked some fans that some great rivalries are being ruined and some of these moves do not make much geographical sense either. The NCAA is really a cesspool as you have seen recently because so many of these teams cheat and cut corners to win, or even worse they do it without ethics like the Nittany Lions did. The NCAA has to be cleaned up as a whole and I think paying college athletes would only make things worse. There is that saying in NCAA commercials, “There are over 380,000 NCAA student athletes and almost all of them will be going pro in something other than sports.” That is absolutely true. For every Johnny Manziel, there is probably 10 unknown college athletes, who put in the same, if not more, effort than Manziel does, but they’re never seen on television or maybe even heard of, they play for the competition, for the enjoyment and to test their limits. That is what a student athlete and amateur should be and once it is no longer that and only about earning dollars, college athletics will be destroyed, and there is no turning back from that.