The debate has raged on for years now. Major college sports have become some of the most enjoyable events for spectators, while also providing great opportunities for the athletes who play them. College sports provide drama, tension, produces die-hard loyal fans and of course, who can forget the infamous college football playoff system (aka BCS). It is through college that most student-athletes get the first real opportunity to show their abilities and maybe one day gets drafted professionally for the sport in which they participate. But where is the line drawn for the student-athlete? Why do kids really go to college? For all of my life I always thought the main reason for attending college was to get an education and if you were lucky enough and/or talented enough, you might even get the opportunity to play a sport. Bob Dylan once wrote, “The times they are a changin'” and that quote holds true in this situation. It’s now even being rumored these same student-athletes, who us spectators make into immortals, are now looking to get paid during their tenure at SCHOOL!
Let’s stop right there.
It’s true, the colleges and universities are at just as much fault as us fans are for this recent shift in opinion amongst the student-athletes. See, colleges and universities for the longest time have used sports as a way to benefit the academic and athletic capacities. Take Pennsylvania State University for example. A simple agricultural college well into the early 1950’s, since then has developed into a major northeastern-powerhouse university.
How was this possible you ask?
As stated in the book, The Lion in Autumn: A Season with Joe Paterno and Penn State Football, the higher officials at Penn State decided to institute football as their main-feed money system. When JoePa came along and turned the football program into a powerhouse, the university as a whole soon followed. For the first time, college athletics were used as a major advertising scheme to help “better” the university. It wasn’t long before other colleges and universities followed.
Last time I checked, the purposed of going to college was to get an education.
Isn’t that right?
Students at college also get their first real opportunity to live on their own and meet new people; the experiences seem endless. But I think, in an age where the media influences just about every decision people make, more and more student-athletes think of themselves as athlete-students. That thought process needs to come to and end now because just like the NCAA endorsed commercial says, millions of people play sports in college but only so many will go professional, in most cases it will be in something other than sports.
If colleges and universities were to decide on paying student-athletes to come to their school, I honestly believe more and more kids will either drop out of school early or simply not graduate. The reason being is, if schools pay a kid to play football, basketball or baseball, whatever it may be, do you seriously think that person is going to his his/her time hitting the books when they will already be making a decent amount of money?
No grades. No education.
The whole purpose of coming to college will indeed take a drastic shift, and not for the better.
Students may be happy getting paid to play college sports but what happens when the athlete gets injured or things don’t work out as expected? Will we start seeing Brady Quinn getting endorsements from Nike?
More importantly, what are these kids going to have to fall back on if their athletic careers are a bust?
The situations that may unfold will not be good.
Paying college athletes should not happen; not now, not ever. It is totally unacceptable. Just think about it for a second. Not every 17/18 year old kid is going to be educated enough to make the smart decision, one that may ultimately seal his future. It is hard enough choosing a college/university as it is. Let the STUDENT-ATHLETES focus on education first, with athletics being second.
This system, unlike the BCS, has successfully worked for millions of people for now over 100 years. Why change it?
Copyright ©2006 Colin Cerniglia. All Rights Reserved.