COLUMN: Paid or nah?

Should collegiate athletes receive compensation?

Recently, there has been a lot of speculation regarding collegiate athletes receiving compensation from coaches or boosters involved in their programs. This brings up the question: should college athletes be paid? 

As a current senior defensive back on the Ferris football team, I am here to give you my take on this widely debated topic going on in the NCAA. 

Now, this topic has heated up over the past few months after freshman All-American center Deandre Ayton received $100,000 to play at Arizona, former North Carolina State guard Dennis Smith received $43,000 in his time in college and current sophomore forward Miles Bridges for Michigan State University received a stipend in his time with the Spartans. 

No matter your take on the subject, it cannot be denied that these athletes have brought in jaw-dropping amounts of money for their athletic programs. 

According to businessinsider. com, the average participant in the Football Bowl Subdivision earns $137,357 per year and an average participant in the NBA earns $289,031 per year, while the average player earns only $23,204 in scholarships. In the NBA, players partake in 50 percent of all revenue while players of the NFL receive 46.5 percent. If the same model was applied to college sports, football and basketball players would earn a collective $6.2 million. 

As a collegiate athlete, I firmly understand the amount of attention that athletes can bring to a university such as awareness, recruiting for students and models for success. We stand as a symbol of excellence for our respected institutions and there is a strong amount of pressure on student athletes to succeed. 

You can ask any student athlete, and they will tell you that being a collegiate athlete is a full-time job—however there is no salary involved. The term salary is a fragile word in regards to something a collegiate athlete should or shouldn’t receive. 

Personally, I feel that if we received a weekly or monthly salary, certain athletes would abuse this privilege and spend this money on things that they don’t need. 

If there were a salary involved, there would be unfair distribution among players and genders between sports. There would have to be a Title IX rule instilled in the NCAA if this were to happen and deciding how much certain athletes would make based on their respected sports. 

Athletes may also not feel obligated to attend their classes, and their passion for their sport may decrease because they are being paid to play. 

I do, however, believe that college athletes could earn a different source of income. 

One of my biggest struggles as a collegiate athlete is finding time to make food or even eat enough meals in a given day. I am a full advocate for receiving money that can go towards a meal plan or groceries per week. Food is essential for a collegiate athlete to refuel their body and muscles and in return can help them perform on the field or court. 

Division II, III and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) schools typically don’t have to worry about the revenue issues as much as Division I schools, since we don’t sell merchandise with our names or numbers on them. 

Regarding schools that are in the Division I level and that generate thousands of dollars in revenue from their athletes, such as Michigan and MSU, I have a different viewpoint. 

Not only should these athletes receive money for food per week but they should also receive a percentage of each sale on their personal merchandise, such as jerseys, shirts or sweatshirts with their name on it and should receive this money upon graduation from their respective universities. 

My formula may not be the right one, nor may people agree with me but I think there are some changes that need to be made to the flawed NCAA system. 

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