Student athletes should be compensated

by Ryan Kelly, Staff Writer

The NCAA reported more than $1 billion of revenue in 2017. Of course, none of this would be possible without the 460,000 student-athletes across America. Why shouldn’t these athletes be rewarded for their talent and extreme devotion? Since 1910, college athletes have been competing against each other year after year. When it comes to college sports, especially Division 1 teams, there is no offseason. An athlete’s body can go through plenty of strain during their time as a competitor and sometimes their love for the sport isn’t enough to keep them going.

A large sum of athletes in college barely have the wealth to support themselves. According to a study done by Drexel University, 86% of college athletes that reside off-campus live below the federal poverty line. Their sports careers take up plenty of time and finding a job that conforms to their busy schedules can be challenging. Alike any high school athlete, the next step that I wish to reach is the college level in my sport, track and field. If a fixed salary were offered to athletes like me then they would no longer have to worry about where their income is coming from. Even for those players that work minimum-wage jobs, this would allow them to have more time to practice and make themselves better and healthier athletes. 

To me the matter isn’t whether college athletes should be compensated, it’s how should they be compensated. Universities paying the students wouldn’t be a viable option.  If this were the case then all five-star recruits would flock exclusively to the big market schools. If a top football prospect were to come out of high school and was offered scholarships from the University of Alabama and Clemson University, they would most likely sign with Alabama. Although Clemson has one of the top football programs in the country, Alabama’s program brings in much more revenue. Therefore Alabama has the ability to offer them more money. The NCAA paying the players would be a much more astute choice. This would sustain the even playing field and keep athletes’ minds open for where they should bring their talents.

Ohio State University standout defensive end Chase Young was having one of the best defensive seasons that the NCAA has seen in years. Young was second in the rankings for the Heisman Trophy after week 10 of the season. The Heisman is awarded to the most outstanding player in all of college football and Young was the highest-ranked defensive player since Manti Te’o in 2012. With 13.5 sacks and 5 forced fumbles through 9 games, he certainly deserves high praise.

However, this spectacular season was postponed after Young was suspended for the Buckeyes game against the University of Maryland. The suspension was due to an incident during last year’s season where Young borrowed money from a family friend so he could fly his girlfriend out to a game in California. Young quickly returned the money, but the event was still in violation of the rules enforced by the NCAA. According to the NCAA Publication, a player is forbidden from accepting any loans. So far Young has been suspended two games and the end isn’t yet in sight. The NCAA is wrong to hold Young out and potentially ruin his historic season.

Young took the loan so he could

bring his girlfriend to the 2019 Rose Bowl, his team’s last game of the season. Chase Young is an astounding athlete and he is completely devoted to his sport. If he was able to earn money for doing what he does best this situation would have never happened.

With salaries for student-athletes, talk may arise about athletics becoming a larger concern than education. This wouldn’t affect the student’s thought process of their education being the top priority. According to the NCAA, less than 2% of college athletes end up becoming a professional in their respective sports. Many students are aware that going pro isn’t a real possibility and they won’t prioritize sports over study.

With the great amount of money the NCAA brings in, they should learn to acknowledge where all that money is earned. We, as active viewers, also need to acknowledge the people that entertain us to the fullest every single week.