October 22, 2018

Paying college athletes: new look at old battle — Scott Lunte

Paying college athletes for their athletics performance gives other athletes an unfair disadvantage. Schools who properly recruit through scholarships and team spirit, but don’t have the wealthy boosters some schools benefit from would no longer have the same opportunities to attract great players. College players, who already receive scholarships for their athletics, shouldn’t get extra incentives.

Personally, I don’t think it’s fair for Division-I football and basketball athletes to get paid by universities for their individual performance. They have to earn it.

According to the NCAA, 0.375 percent of college football players make the NFL yearly. And 0.274 percent of all collegiate basketball athletes make the NBA each year.

The odds of making it to a professional level in a sport are low. When colleges give incentives to athletes based on their performance, the other 99 percent of athletes don’t get a fair chance to make it to the professional level.

Webster University, a Division-III school, is not allowed to give out athletic scholarships. Because of Webster’s Division-III status, the players who work hard at their sport at Webster have virtually no shot at making the professional level. There are exceptions, but they are few and far between.

Paying athletes to play is not fair to the Division-III athletes who work hard just to get considered for the professional level.

College is a place where you learn to fine-tune your profession. Like the rest of the students who go to college, organizations do not give them extra money based on their academic performance.

The athletes that make it to the professional level are the athletes that are willing to give 100 percent at every game, and at every practice. But even those who give their 100 percent still may not make it.

I, however, am okay with players independently marketing themselves for profit. There’s nothing wrong with that. But organizations shouldn’t pay players like Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel to sign autographs at the BCS Championship game, or give former Tennessee running back Arian Foster money for food.

Recruiting players through incentives at the collegiate level is like developing a junior-professional sports league. Recruitment wouldn’t matter if athletes were getting paid additional incentives on top of a full-ride scholarship.

If I had the option of choosing a school with a full-ride scholarship, or choosing a school with a full-ride scholarship and additional incentives such as a commitment bonus, I would pick the latter.

Athletes who go to Division-I schools are already getting full-ride scholarships and are practically getting paid to play. Why pay them more? What makes them so special in comparison to the rest of us? They’re like us. Again, they must earn their pay professionally.

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