This debate was extremely interesting to say the least, to hear from current coaches, former players collegiate as well as professional, conference commissioners and broadcasters was quite insightful.
I don’t think that much was really resolved, but the first step in resolution is always conversation. As a former collegiate and professional football player I could relate to all sides of the argument.
I’m of the opinion that the coaches and colleges face many problems and issues, but at the end of the day things always boil down to the all mighty dollar. The argument with regards to education is thoroughly agreed upon, but the reason we encourage kids to go to college and get a degree is for the future betterment of themselves to be good people and beneficial to society. And yet the prize is always to make money in the end.
All of their goals and hopes point to money, that’s what is assumed a good education will provide for the person who attains it. For the lion share of collegiate athletes, turning pro and getting a handsome contract is the fulfillment of going through four years of college. We do live in a new world as it pertains to collegiate sports, and as old school as some of the panelists claim to be, the old world of college sports they knew has drastically changed forever and no longer exists.
The money has grown immensely and the marketing of star players has contributed to that growth. The players now realize their worth to universities and their revenues, and rightfully want a share, legally or illegally. Why should the universities and the BCS make millions, if not billions while the players who create the wealth, live in virtual poverty. I realize that it is a difficult problem to solve, but a scholarship-ed athlete according to NCAA rules is not allowed to work, so how are they to attain money for the basic needs of life? As long as there are alum who will offer them the money, they will take it.
I can remember being a college athlete and never having money for a thing. I took deodorant and soap from the locker room for my needs at the dorm. Yes we got room and board, paid tuition and 3 square meal per day, at 7 AM, 12 PM and 7 PM, by 9 PM I was hungry again. I was 17 yrs old with no option or money for a snack or additional meals between that 12 hour window until breakfast. And while the coaches and those who oppose paying these college kids are sitting at home in their cushy million dollar homes, with refrigerators fill to the brim, I was starving in my 10 x 10 dorm room.
Much talk has gone on about the cost of attendance, and while that would be a start, some schools would be at a greater advantage than others. $2000-$3000 per year, divided by 40 weeks, comes out to $75 per week or $10 per day. Hardly enough to make a difference or stop a kid from accepting money from a willing alum.
Clearly something needs to be done, it is an issue that will not go away and has come to a head in college athletics. I’m not saying that we should make these kids millionaires in college. But a sufficient stipend that allows them to take care of their basic needs, go see a movie or take a young lady or gentleman out on a date would go a long way in rectifying this problem.