Dropping the ball: Why colleges should be paying athletes

Collegiate athletics is what defines most colleges around the country.

It brings families, the student body, everyone involved with the school together as one to support whatever sport that is playing, which is usually football most of the time. Imagine working for countless hours, six days a week, then putting on multiple performances just so someone else can be paid billions.

That is the life of a college athlete. College athletes do not get any recognition or benefits that they deserve for the revenue they bring to their university and the surrounding community.

For some college athletes, things such as tuition, gear, recovery items, and other necessities needed to perform are not free or cheap. Many college athletes pay money out of their own pockets to be able to perform at the level they need to, but who gets all the financial benefits? The NCAA and the university itself.

Sports take as much time as a full-time job. Student athletes take on hours of school, practice, mandatory study hall hours and weights every single day.

There is no time to even think about having a job. Yes, student-athletes get scholarships to cover school and books, but the only athletes who get full rides are the top-tier recruits. Most get 50% scholarships or less and are in debt after their four years unless they go the professional route and get a big check. It is a job, every single day is long and there are no breaks. It is truly “all gas, and no brakes.”

College sports are a highly profitable industry. Every university profits off of its athletes. Even though Washburn may not be a Division 1 and have 35,000 plus people at a football game, every division, whether that junior college, NAIA, or any NCAA school, makes tons of money, especially if you win games. There are many Division 1 schools that give athletes “stipends” to cover food and other basis purchases. But, this is limited to the schools with the most resources.

I believe all schools in the country should figure out a way for athletes to earn money from their name, endorsement deals and wearing the team’s brands just like professionals do.

Sadly, all the NCAA seems to care about is money when they know there are thousands of talented athletes who are willing to do anything just to keep playing their sport.

College athletes put their bodies on the line every game. If you think about it deeply, there are so many college athletes who have torn up their bodies and have been so gravely injured that they cannot even play the game any longer.

They lose their scholarship and are stuck in a horrible situation, whether that is debt or medical bills, not knowing how to pay for anything.

If athletes could be paid, they would learn financial awareness, how to save money and manage it so if something did happen to them where their career was over, then they would already have that money to figure out their life plan and not be dead broke.

I believe once you step foot on a college campus and rep your school, through social media followers and ESPN spots for billions to see, then you should simply be allowed to earn money from that.