January 11, 2016
As Christian fans of college sports, we cannot ignore the way systemic injustice can plague "amateur" athletics.
I have always felt that athletes in the so-called 'revenue sports' should receive stipends (at least on par with a teaching assistant on the same campus) as student public relations employees of the universities. This would prevent scandals due to under-the-table payments, provide some compensation for the full-time commitment of being an athlete, and by tying it to compensation of other student employees on campus, would reduce the likelihood of bidding wars for star athletes.
I so much agree with this article that there is something very wrong in the world of big college/university sports these days, but to the same extent disagree with what is wrong.
The problem with big college (NCAA Division I) sports is that it amounts to a public (mainly government funded and certainly sponsored) minor league system for the various professional sports leagues, and not, as suggested by this article, that this government funded/sponsored system should pay these kids professional level compensation for what has become, sadly, a pre-professional sports training system that poses as an educational system.
NCAA Division III rules, designed for "student athletes" at colleges and universities that elect this "D III" status, prohibit sports scholarships altogether, a rule that represents the idea that colleges should be educational institutions, not the minor leagues.
The problem is not that big colleges and universities exploit student athletes but rather that our society idolizes professional sports and has been able to use the college and university system to indulge that idolatry.
I am no enemy of sports, BTW, but rather an avid fan of baseball who played the sport for decades and coached it for additional decades, including a current major league infielder who went to Stanford University before being drafted by the Red Sox.
The sad parts of the issue, most college "stars" want a job, not an education. The greatest beneficiary of pro-sports is pro-gambling. Colleges should have a pro-sports business major with emphasis on contracts, money management, health insurance, taxes and post-retirement issues.
I played college sports, both at the JUCO and NCAA level. I received a scholarship that paid my JUCO experience with plenty to spare. The Division I school had a club soccer team, no scholarship...I had to pay my own way. That lasted only 1 year as I could not afford that.
In light of my experience within the system and trying to think of a resolution I have come up with the following.
The NCAA and each athletic department should place a percentage of revenue into a fund for each athlete, for all sports. When the said athlete GRADUATES they receive the fund. This will help those who are starting out and not going pro in their respective sports. It also encourages them to finish their degrees, which is why they are their in the first place. Receiving the funds can be optional, if a first round draft pick says "no thank you", the fund should be equally divided back into the pool at that school.
Even if the money comes out to be a few thousand dollars, based on the percentage of the schools athletic budget and NCAA monies, it is compensation for labor.
If you had told me you will receive money upon graduating for playing a sport I would have stayed with it. That money can be applied back to student loans, or used to start fresh some place while landing a job.
Add your comment to join the discussion!