Their names and faces are splattered across posters and magazine covers, but they’re shut out when it comes time to collect the profits. This dilemma facing today’s star college athletes is part of a debate that’s been shimmering for years now as the landscape of college sports rapidly changes.
With amateur sports continuing to balloon, fueled by ESPN and its impresario sensibilities, the idea of stipends, salaries, or whatever it will take to pay college athletes, will only intensify.
While the status quo is not wholly sensible in the current college sports atmosphere, the issue of pay for college athletes is not as cut-and-dry as recent cover stories such as Time magazine would appear.
In one of its latest issues, the publication passionately argues for payments to college stars.
The magazine frames the argument around the idea that while schools reap the benefits of the exposure of their college athletes and coaches rake in millions of dollars, the combined salary of thousands of college athletes remains zero.
With Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who was recently embroiled in a “scandal” for accusations he signed autographs for cash, as the poster boy, the case is made that payment for college athletes is “an ethical imperative.”
It’s not that easy. While college stars may help to generate thousands, and even millions of dollars for their schools, they also receive free tuition and room-and-board without hesitation.
Additionally, most college students, or their parents, have to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a coveted college degree. Scholarship athletes do not.
For college stars with pro prospects, it’s then time to cash million dollar checks at the next level. Of course, success after college isn’t guaranteed, just as with any profession.
Although it’s murky territory, schools ultimately shouldn’t sit by in silence. The system isn’t exactly fair at this point. Consequently, the sharing of revenue appears to be coming sooner rather than later. But it’s not as easy as handing over a wad of cash.
NCAA officials need to sit down and decipher the best solution to add to the benefits already in place for college players.