Opinion

OPINION: Were my parents right when they said college is my job?

By Davan Dotson

How many hours are put into hellish practices and games where collegiate athletes leave everything they have on the field, court, or gym? My parents have repetitively told me that school is my job, and if I want to play sports, then it is my part-time job on the side. Although I shook these statements off as parents being parents, they could not have been more accurate. Sports, especially at the collegiate level, are very demanding, and even more so when they are at a Division 1 program. Sports leave very little time to be devoted to studies, let alone jobs. There are some significant advantages to compensating athletes for the 40 to 60 plus hours that athletes put into their sports each week.

Athletes are eager to leave college as soon as possible so they can start to make money and support their families. Many college athletes at the top level of collegiate sports are African American, and many athletes come from low-class urban families where they are expected to be the breadwinner. Compensating players with reasonable monthly salaries will allow for athletes to stay in college longer because they are already being paid. Giving athletes wages on a monthly basis also gives light to the possibility that college athletes could learn how to manage money before they start earning ridiculous amounts with professional organizations or teams.

Players receiving regulated and monitored compensation by the NCAA also limits the corrupt external influences on wages, such as agents, boosters and money drops. There will be no need to risk these forms of compensation for athletes when colleges can legally compensate them with no risk of being fined or punished. Finally, the most prominent reason for paying players for their efforts and abilities is simply because it’s what they deserve. The NCAA annually makes billions off of college sports. Why should athletes not get some of the rewards from their spoils? It just seems ethically, morally and genuinely right to compensate athletes instead of letting them slave away for the NCAA’s and their college institution’s fiscal gains with nothing but a couple of years of education to make up for it.

I mean, come on now! We all know that elite and mid-tier college athletes are going to leave as soon as possible under the current regulations, so let’s just be honest with ourselves. The NCAA makes billions and college athletes get their general education paid for — is that really the sweetest deal for broke college students basically devoting their lives to their college or university sports for two or three years? Sounds like indentured servants with slightly better benefits if you ask me.

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