150 years ago Princeton and Rutgers University started game we now know as American football, now back then college football wasn't as big as it is today. There isn't 100,000 screaming fans in the stands or television broadcasting the game,well back then they didn't have T.V and only 100 people showed up for the first game, and it certainly wasn't as exciting or fun to watch as it is today but it laid down the foundation of the for what it would become. That game today is shaped by the Intercollegiate Athletic Association now known as the NCAA, They set the rules all players for all sports must follow. One of the main rules the NCAA has established is the amateurism rule, which basically states that student athletes are students first and shouldn't worry about money. Now this rule was made to help the players and focus on their school rather than their sport. But that was back in 1906, nowadays student athletes can spend up to 50 hours a week in practice,games, and travel. This is on top of their classes which they have to stay on top of because if they dont they might lose their scholarship. When Josh Rosen former UCLA quarterback was asked about his time in college, he said “it was like working two fulltime jobs”. Now that just one example of Colleges demanding a lot from their players, But for some just playing for the school they love is good enough. Most of the people who say that college athletes shouldnt be paid are former players,representatives of the NCAA, and even coaches,saying it will ruin the purity of the game and the game will be just like the NFL were its all about money.
But when the NCAA signs a multi year bargain worth nearly $11 billion with CBS and Turner Sports that would give them the rights to show the games and some coaches are being paid almost 10 million dollars a year, now I don't know about you but that doesn't seem like the coaches are doing for the love and purity of the game. Now i'm not saying that the coaches shouldnt make a living but when your players are putting in more hours at practice that the study hall I think they should make some money for their time. It’s not as easy as handing out checks to every football and basketball player who plays for the best team in the nation. There are a lot of factors that must be accounted for, one of the main reasons being title 9 which is the equal distribution of money for every sport the university provides. So if you want to pay the Heisman trophy winner you have to pay the second string goalie on women’s soccer. Now this is not what people think of when we’re talking about paying the students, far from it. There are some ways of getting around this with the new “pay to play” law passed by California.
But before I go into more detail about paying the athletes I first want to go into more detail as to why some people don't want to pay the athletes, like I said before many friends people saying athletes should be paid are representatives of the NCAA, coaches and even some of the games biggest stares like Tim Tebow. When Tebow was the starting quarterback at the Florida University his jersey was one of the best selling jerseys in America,and when asked if he agreed with California’s new law that allows student athletes to make money off of their image and name he said that “when I went into college I knew it wasn’t about the money, it was about the pride to play for his school and win a championship”. But for many other players pride for your school doesn’t pay the bills,feed them or help support their families, and while paying the athletes may have an effect on the game and the decisions future players make it’s still the right thing to do.
Now I’m one of the biggest college football fans you’ll ever meet, I’ve gone to many San Jose State and Stanford as a kid and even played the NCAA video game with all of my friends. But as I’ve gotten older and seen and heard some of the injustices the players have gone through. For example earlier this year Memphis university basketball star recruit and potential No. 1 NBA Draft pick James Wiseman has been suspended 12 games by ncaa, for his mothers involvement in accepting $11,500 in the recruitment of their son. Now Wiseman just wanted to help his mom move into a better neighborhood, but because the person who gave him the money was a “booster” he not only got suspended but has to return all the money he accepted. This is not the first time a player has accepted money under the table from teams trying to get them to commit to their school.
Back in the 1980s Texas’s Universities were basically the wild wild west of trying to recruit the best players in the nation for their school, every school in the state had boosters go to the hometown of the best players and try to buy their commitment. This included buying the recruits cars,giving them money even going as far as buying their families a house to live in, and no school was more guilty of these actions that’s Southern Methodist University(SMU). They were caught not only giving their players monthly payments for how well they played, but even going as far as moving players families halfway across the country just to live near their son’s. This resulted in SMU’s downfall as they received the “death penalty” for multiple rule violations within 5 years, this resulted in the school losing scholarships canceling the football program for two years and being illuminated from a bowlgames for five years. Now the question can be asked why go so far and break so many rules?
Well in the short answer it was to win some football games but I’m not here to talk about the short answer. The long answer is there are no real way university will be caught unless there’s someone is willing to leak information, this was the case for SMU when a former linebacker Sean Stoppers was kicked out of school for not meeting expectations and also having drug problems off the field they decided to ignore. So when he went back home to Pennsylvania the NCAA flowed and asked Stompers and his mother about some of the stuff that was happening at SMU. But most players don’t want to give up information that will hurt the school they went too so they keep their mouths shut and the schools just keep doing the same thing over and over again.
Off course SMU’s story hasn’t stopped other schools from exploding their players and bending the rules to help them win games, it’s just made them more careful of how they do it. So to the people who say that players are doing this for the love of the game and that college sports are pure, I say there is so much corruption in college sports that we need to take the boosters out of the equation and just allow the players to make money the legal way and keep on playing the sport they love without any worry of losing their scholarship or hurting their team.
So how do we pay the players without hurting the players, school or the way the game is played, well recently the state of California has passed a new law the “pay to play act” saying that players may make money off of their name and likeness. This goes for all sports and helps pay the bigger names in college sports like Zion Williams or Tua Tagovailoa, it doesn’t make the schools pay the athletes but it’s a step in the right direction. But in my opinion the school not paying the players directly can be a good opportunity for players to make some good money and build up their personal brand. Once California passed the new law, the NCAA saw the writing on the wall and applied the new law to all schools. So hopefully players will make the most of their new opportunities presented to them, and still keep the integrity of the sport. For the most part student athletes have gotten a monthly severance check to help them on their daily needs, but with this new law will be marking a lot more and might even encourage players to stay in school longer and finish their degree.
So in conclusion the paying of college student athletes is not an easy question to answer. There are a lot of factors to consider when going into the topic like title 9, smaller schools that don’t make that much money and dirty practices that have been paying players under the table for years. But with the new “pay to play” law and players being able to make money of their name and likeness, this can open the door for players in every sport to make money off endorsements, making their own YouTube Channel and even having their school use them more in advertisements for their sport. So the NCAA can still make as much money as their making right now, and help the less popular sports stay active. This new law is a step in the right direction for not only the players but the NCAA as well. So hopefully players can unionize in the future and make partnerships with their schools and agents so that none of the players get taken advantage of.