Should college athletes be paid?

Imagine yourself wanting one dream your entire life and being so close to achieving that dream a deafening crack splits through the air: you have just broken a bone.

While some may say that it’s not that bad, others may say it means someone’s entire life. 

For a college athlete wanting to become a professional, it means their dream just came to an all-time stand still with no chance at moving forward.

The controversy on whether or not college athletes should be paid had all started with one man by the name of Ed O’Bannon. He was at his day job at a car dealership, when one of his friends came by to show him a video game that his son had been playing. 

The video game in question was none other than National Collegiate Athletic Association licensed NCAA Basketball ’09. 

With his friend’s offer to let him check out the game, O’Bannon was angered at the likeliness that the character on screen held in comparison to him. 

“Left-handed, height, weight, skin color, everything. Bald-headed, yeah it was me for sure,” said O’Bannon in an interview.

Ever since O’Bannon fought for his right to compensation, since it was his image that the NCAA was using to sell their product, student athletes have began questioning why they were not getting paid for their efforts.

For many sports fans there are plenty of days to celebrate and one of them is March Madness. This NCAA college basketball tournament brings in over $1 billion in total revenue. To put this into perspective, March Madness makes more than the SuperBowl. 

“There is nothing wrong with a sporting tournament making huge amounts of money,” said John Oliver, host of the Last Week Tonight show, “but there is something slightly troubling about a billion dollar sports enterprise where the athletes are not paid a penny.” 

The truth of the matter is that this is the case.

To find out if college athletes should or should not get paid we talked to current athletes and coaches at Sonoma State University. 

“I think the scholarship works, as long as your education is paid for you still have room to go professional,” said junior center, Hannah Sourek of the women’s basketball team. 

The men’s head basketball coach Pat Fuscaldo could neither agree nor disagree with the arguments being provided. 

“I think the scholarship itself has a lot of weight,” said Fuscaldo, when talking about students at the lower division schools. 

Yet, when talking about the Division I or Division II schools, his mind seemed to change. 

“In the top four conferences, those students should be getting paid, there should be stipends for them, there should be a nest egg for when they graduate,” said Fuscaldo. “They [NCAA] are making billions of dollars and those kids are working more than 20 hours a week.”

The average college student attends about 16 hours of class a week, with roughly 20 hours of homework a week, if going by the hypothetical situation of having three classes that are two hours long and one class that is four hours long, and for every hour spent in class is two hours of homework, it’s something that students are more than capable of. 

Now, what would happen if you added into your schedule, the life of an athlete who is in mid-season? Current NFL player Richard Sherman was one of those student athletes. 

“You wake up in the morning and you have weights at this time. Then after weights you go to class, then after class you maybe go to try to catch a quick bite to eat. After you get your quick bite to eat you go straight to meetings,” said Sherman, as he relayed a student athletes typical day to the press. “Then after meetings you’ve got practice, then after practice you’ve got to try and get all the work done you’ve had throughout the day.”

While this controversy focuses mainly on Division I schools in the field of basketball and football, it would mean that everyone across the board would have to be paid for their efforts. The NCAA cannot start paying athletes only in football and not start paying those in other sports such as baseball. 

Yet, there is also another matter at hand that no one has seem to even begin to consider in this argument, which is women’s sports. In all the talk about student athletes getting paid, reporters have only looked at football and basketball players. No one has gone to a women’s team and asked them their opinion on whether or not student athletes should get paid. 

If the conference decides to pay student athletes they will not only have to pay the athletes of all sports, but they will also have to pay female athletes in sports such as softball, as well.

“As much as it would be awesome to get paid I think it would take away from the game,” said softball player Keeley Ray. “As you can see in professional leagues the sport doesn’t become about the game anymore it’s now all about the money and how much you are getting paid.”

As you can tell the athletes and coaches at Sonoma State University are more against having student-athletes get paid then for it, which some might find strange. Yet, if one takes in all aspects of the debate, they might find their own voice in the matter. 

Some may say that the scholarship is enough, because the athlete is receiving an education and others may argue that they are at a high risk of losing everything than the average college student. Wherever your voice lies in the matter, anyone can shed a little bit of light on whether or not college athletes should be getting paid. 

Do you think college athletes should be paid? Will we see college athletes being paid in the near future?