Many parents start their children in sporting activities at a very young age. It begins as a fun sporting event for family and friends until coaches and parents discover the talent level of the child. What started as a fun extracurricular activity turns into a job for many gifted athletes at a very young age. In addition to standard practices, parents demand additional individual training and enroll their children in camps to improve their skill levels. Parents hope these investments will reap considerable dividends in the future.
The top schools in the nation highly recruit the most gifted athletes. Many people speculate that some of these schools violate NCAA rules and offer other forms of compensation in addition to the scholarship. This leads to the great debate surrounding student-athletes. Should college athletes receive monetary compensation from the NCAA?
Larry Archie, head coach at Granby High School, continuously reminds his players that, “Sports are secondary to education. Injury can end your sporting career today, but a college degree will last a lifetime.” He declined to offer an opinion on whether the NCAA should compensate college athletes. His focus is on developing student-athletes and creating a positive atmosphere for the team.
Being a college student-athlete can be very challenging at times. It wears on you physically, emotionally, psychologically, and financially. Every year the NCAA hauls in approximately 11 billion dollars for its organization. Athletes bring in all this money to the universities and receive none of it.
Many argue that universities and colleges compensate athletes in the form of free education, but not all athletes are receiving scholarships. Although free tuition is an excellent reward for the sacrifices of an athlete, it still does not provide money for additional expenses.
Student-athletes are asked to dedicate so much time to the sport they play. The athletes have to balance school, meetings, lifting, study hall, practice, and while doing all that try to have a social life. In addition, you have to account for the time that the athletes have to travel for road games. Studies show that the athletes spend an average of 43.3 hours a week to their sport.
Coach Lamarr Stewart, Defensive Coordinator at ASA College Brooklyn, stated, “I have mixed emotions about this ongoing debate. After team meetings, grueling practices, and the demands of school, it is next to impossible for a college athlete to work a job and earn money.” Full scholarships may provide tuition, housing, books, and food; however, it does not include incidental expenses. How is the student-athlete expected to cover basic needs of gas for vehicles, personal care items, and entertainment?
Bryce Alleyne, former Delaware State University running back, stated, “Being a student-athlete consumed all of my time. It definitely would have been easier if monetary compensation was received, but I still feel blessed to graduate without owing anything.” No one can argue the value of a college degree, but the path to get there is a long, difficult one. For the student-athletes forced to work, it may lead to the difficult choice between school and sports. Others attempt to do it all and flunk out of school.
It is time for the NCAA to share the wealth. Simply providing scholarships is not enough. College sports is a lucrative business, and each student-athlete should receive a small benefit from this multi-billion dollar industry that continues to grow.
Although many athletes would love to be paid, the lack of compensation does not deter them from pursuing their dreams. It suggests that the pure love of the sport outweighs all of the demands and risks. The majority of college athletes will not make it to a professional level. Is that reason alone compelling enough to require the NCAA to compensate athletes at the collegiate level?