Collegiate Athletes need to be paid. And no, not a cost-of-attendance stipend and not an “everybody gets an equal slice of the pie” payment. College athletes of every sport deserve to sell their services to a school.
I am writing this as a college student who is not going to school for free. I understand the value of scholarship in today’s society. I also understand this scholarship has NO VALUE to an anyone who is uninterested with getting a degree and no one has the right to tell him/her what they should value, athletes included. But a school should be able to offer whatever amount of money it deems appropriate to any player.
I accept that with paying athletes there comes an understandable amount of uncomfortability. There is no perfect way to do it. It cannot be fair, life is not fair. The value of each athlete is different. Some programs will offer a lot of money and some will offer very little. That is not a problem though. In truth, our current system is the wrong way to compensate athletes for their work, not pay-for-play. As a society, we penalize athletes for accepting monies they rightfully deserve.
Yes, some athletes will be wildly overpaid and never give a decent return-on-investment, so to speak. That is not our problem to deal with. If the big, powerful, and intelligent institution with a large budget over pays for an athlete, SO WHAT?
I would rather the multi-million dollar industry lose thousands, than keep thousands of regular student-athletes from making anything. Is America not all about protecting the little guy? Allowing an equal opportunity to success for all? Of course some athletes will only get their scholarship and nothing else, but that is okay too! In a free-market, they are allowed to take their talents elsewhere, no fee involved. If they feel they are worth a certain dollar amount, they can seek that amount. If they do not get that amount, they will settle for whatever they can get.
Some of you are now yelling about how unfair that would make collegiate athletics. OPEN YOUR EYES. College sports are not fair. Some programs choose to spend a lot of money on athletics and have exceptionally advanced jerseys, locker rooms, coaching staffs, and other facilities they can offer. Other programs will continue to offer the limited amount they can.
Competition will be the driving force as it already is. This new form of competition allows for the performers to get a slice of the pie that they help bake. At the end of the day, free markets correct themselves. The universities will learn not to overspend and use their money efficiently. College athletes deserve a chance to make money, period.
*Picture acquired for this article via Bleacher Report article