Should college “student athletes” be compensated for playing, principally football and basketball, before thousands in the stands and millions more on television? The tide has finally turned, and the holy grail of college athletics has finally tipped in favor of the athlete. And many are asking, “So what’s the debate all about?”
On the one hand, student athletes are supposed to be just that, students, but they are supposed to be “students” first, right? The truth of the matter is that most athletes in college are athletes more than they are students. So why not compensate them for entertaining us and for being the engine that drives the revenue that colleges revel in?
On the other hand, how do you fairly compensate all athletes? Who decides how much to give which athletes in which sports? Football and basketball are of course the main money makers; so do the athletes in these sports get the lion’s share of the take?
The NCAA in its infinite wisdom has decided to allow the larger American sports conferences to cook up a concoction that compensates their student athletes. This leaves smaller conferences out in the cold, or to continue the food analogy, left at the folding card table at Thanksgiving dinner to eat on paper plates while the “adult” conferences dine delectably at the dining room table.
Fair? Not hardly, but it’s a start. The way the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has handled the outcry for compensation of student athletes is classless and tasteless; in other words, the NCAA has lived up to its name: No Class At All. The NCAA needs be schooled on how to better treat the student athletes that have been their bread and butter for decades. The current system is repulsive and repressive; it is an oppressive system, and each and every oppressive system must and will be overturned and come to an end.
The NCAA began as an almost meaningless manikin; and now, thanks to the efforts of thousands of student athletes, it’s a mammoth, man (or student) eating monster. The NCAA has made billions of dollars on the backs of athletes who often don’t have enough money for food and other common commodities.
Student athletes have been cheated out of any compensation, much less fair compensation, for too long. But the recent ruling by the NCAA is a start. Hopefully, smart and sharp and bright and brainy minds will develop a plan and a program that allows the college student athlete to want to stay in school and learn life lessons and earn deserved degrees without feeling like an indentured servant at best or a bond slave at worst.