Should Student Athletes Share in the Profits?

Let’s talk about student athletes.

With March madness at its peak right now this topic probably doesn’t seem like all that much of a stretch to you, but you might be surprised by the direction this topic is going in…

Should student athletes be paid?

Jalen Rose, ESPN/ABC studio analyst, member of University of Michigan’s Fab Five, and  the writer of this piece seems to think so. And while my first response to that question was an undignified snort, I have to say that after reading his points, I might be reconsidering my stance.

My immediate reaction was absolutely not. Sports are an extracurricular activity that students choose to take part in. Just like the school paper or honors societies or student government. They do is because they enjoy it. Or if they don’t have a love of the game, they’re often very good at the game, and they do it because they get a scholarship for playing that game. Full tuition paid? A free education? That was their payment. What more could they possibly need?

But Rose offers some good points.  He argues that being a student athlete is a full time job. (CollegeCandy reader and student athlete, Chelsea, agrees.) Rigorous training schedules, practices, and games take up the majority of these students’ time, far more time than most other extracurricular activities take up.  And the free time they do have is often spent in class or studying for classes. They do have to maintain a respectable GPA, after all. Rose points out something we all know but never seem to truly grasp: student athletes don’t have much free time.  And as the sister of someone who played high school football for four years, I have to agree. If high school football left my brother without much time to do anything but eat, sleep, and breathe football, then I can’t even imagine the demands that come along with being on a college team.

As a result, these students are left without time for a part time job, and have no means of making any money in college, all while colleges everywhere make lots and lots of money off of them. (Just look at all the money spent and earned during March Madness.) Granted, not every college student works, but some need to. While universities often provide their student athletes with full scholarships, if a student’s family cannot afford to give the athlete spending money, he or she is left without any means of paying for those necessary living expenses that always come up. Laundry. Food that doesn’t come from the cafeteria. School supplies. New clothes. Books. These are expenses that need to be taken care of, and Rose proposes that a $2000-per-semester stipend will do just that.

But what do you propose, ladies? Is the stipend a good idea? Should student athletes be paid at all? Or is getting out of college loan-free enough of a payoff?  Is being a student athlete a full time job? Should there be some sort of need-base system? Or should it be skill-based? And do you think it’s fair that universities, and networks, and brands, and basically everyone but the athletes themselves, are making a profit off of this?

Leave a comment and let us know!

Baggin’ Out: Gentle Fawn Fever
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