By Jalen Thornley
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the highest governing body in college sports, and sets the rules and regulations that college athletes abide by both n and off the court. The NCAA has set strict guidelines that athletes and colleges must follow, one of which states that student-athletes may not receive any form of pay or accept gifts provided to them. While many students struggle to pay for college, athletes make money for the school when they play, and while some colleges collect millions of dollars a year on athletics, none of the athletes receive money for their contributions save for a few loopholes and amendments to the rules.
NCAA regulations are very strict, and violations of those rules can not only cost schools money, but sometimes require that schools vacate wins, players be suspended, and in extreme cases can cost a team its future seasons and millions of dollars in potential revenue. Violations of regulations can be seemingly meaningless acts, such as a coach or sponsor of the school buying a player a Gatorade or giving them a train ticket into town. Many athletes grow up in high poverty areas, and use sports as their way to get an education and then make money after turning professional. Former University of Tennessee and NFL star, Arian Foster, once recalled in a documentary about college sports that he would return to his dorm after games and stand face to face with an empty fridge, and wonder how he would pay for his dinner that night.
Many D.Tech students who currently play sports, are looking at the possibility of playing college level sports, and have opinions on how colleges should help out thei personal cash flow of student athletes. D.Tech basketball player, Chris Ung, hopes to someday play in college, and says he thinks that college athletes shouldn’t be paid, but sees that there are benefits to players receiving some type of pay or gift. Ung says that giving players money gives them a chance to experience some of the aspects of professional athletes’ lives, but if some athletes get paid more than others, players may choose colleges based off of money rather than education or other aspects.
Student-athlete, Tyler Chan, says he hopes to someday play basketball in college, says he believes that college athletes should be compensated for their commitment to the school, as time commitments to athletics often bar athletes from taking part time jobs to help pay for expenses. Although Chan wants athletes to be paid in college, he says he thinks that their pay should be nowhere near that of professionals, and should be a means of paying for necessities, rather than a salary.
While some students such as Ung and Chan saw the benefits to paying college athletes, Carter Bui, a baseball player said that he sees no reason for athletes to be paid. He says he believes the advantage they have is being given a chance to go and play for a college and gain the exposure they want in order to catch the eye of professional scouts. Bui was adamant about his stance and said “There is no reason for college students to be paid money to play college sports.” Jose Obregon, another baseball player at d.Tech, took a lighter stance. Although he thinks that college athletes shouldn’t be paid, he explained that colleges should offer more “free Scholarships” to students, which would allow them to spend money on other expenses rather than tuition and class supplies.
Alex Kawamoto, a junior who plays basketball for d.Tech, explained that his stance was more centered than others, and although he thought that sometimes athletes should be paid, he believes that it should depend on how they use the money as an excess of money could lead to bad habits and trouble that could hurt both the athlete and the school.
The topic of paying college athletes is very sensitive, and most college programs do their best to stay neutral and follow the guidelines provided by the NCAA. When reaching out to 10 different college programs across the State of California, no coaches returned messages about how they felt about any potential changes to the bylaws, and whether they could benefit student athletes in any way at all. Although the NCAA has allowed some students to receive gifts, colleges have done it through loopholes, and reading between the lines of rules set by the NCAA. Many athletes find it unfair that they receive no compensation for their effort, and some have chosen to make their way to professional leagues by skipping college, while others have decided to enter a system that doesn’t benefit them in any way or acknowledge their sacrifices to represent the school.