By Coach Hayes
Athletic scholarship. What does that mean?
It means colleges and universities will front the bill for those athletes who are good enough to participate in sports at the collegiate level. Admission to most colleges and universities costs upwards of $40,000 per year, and most people just don't have that kind of money lying around. While there are some parents who have the resources to pay for their children's education upfront, most students have to rely on student loans; or have enough athletic prowess to get that athletic scholarship. Since college football is amulti-billion dollar industry, let’s start there.
In recent years, arguments have circulated about how college athletes, specifically football players, should get paid for their athletic service. Yes, college football is essentially the NFL's minor league, but the problem I have is that these kids aren't going to school for football alone. They have being given a golden opportunity to get an education on the universities dime. Now, if they are good enough to go to the next level, (which would be the NFL or even the CFL) that's great. But just over one percent of all college athletes ever play sports at the professional level. And even those who do make it don't tend to stick around very long; the average life span of an NFL player is less than four years. So, while we hear about the big-named stars who rake in eight figure salaries for over a decade, the vast majority of players finish their career before their 30th birthday.
How many times have you heard an athlete majoring in psychology, sociology, communications, and other "Easy-A" majors? Many athletes are given the path of least resistance, and pushed towards majors with lighter course loads. Will they ever use that degree when they leave school? Most likely not. Most of these players need to go back to school when their careers end if they want to be relevant in the real world.
The main point here is, while in school, these scholarship athletes get free tuition, room and board, books, and clothing from the athletic program. If you add it up, they more than just a free education, they get everything they need while on campus. The last time I checked, a secondary education was considered to be a priceless opportunity. So, when this argument comes up, and you wonder why those athletes aren't getting paid... just look at what they really receive. It's much more than the everyday Average Joe gets when they go to a major college or university. So, I laugh at the prospect of paying student athletes… They have already been more than compensated.
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