This is just my opinion. As a former athlete and current collegiate coach I am around some gifted athletes. Many of them are definitely a key reason for the success for their sports teams. Their lives are very busy. From freshman year to senior year, these student-athletes must manage themselves within the confines of being a student first and then an athlete. This means they must stay on top of their studies as well as participate in their sport.
A typical day for a football player could look like this:
7:00 am- Breakfast
8:45 am-10:00 am- Position Meetings
10:00-12:30 – Practice
1:00-6:00 – Class
6:45 -8:45 – Weights
6:45-8:45 -Study Hall
Repeat the next day.
Now I’m sure people look at this and think how do they have time to enjoy life? Or, this might support the position as to why these athletes need to get paid.
I don’t believe any athletes should get paid because they already do. And, its not what you think. Nothing goes against NCAA regulations and is above the table. They get paid by scholarships which include yearly meal plans, education, housing, year round workouts, and trips to places they would probably never get a chance to visit. It’s amazing that some folks think these kids should be paid.
For those of you that say the professors are giving grades to these athletes so that they will pass the classes and play.. I can only speak from my experience and that type of foul play has never happened in any institution I have been a part of. The first goal of all coaches is to make sure all the athletes get a quality education so that they can be successful in life as well as teach them how to face adversity and gain life skills through football–or whatever sport they play.
One of the best things about playing sports is learning how to face adversity. I mentioned life skills and football earlier. They go hand in hand. In college I had to learn how to manage myself so that I could be successful on and off the field. Undergrad, football and my studies were my life. When I got my masters degree, football was as much a part of my life as it was during my undergraduate studies because I was a graduate assistant football coach. A few years ago I received my doctorate. Guess what, football was there because I work full time as a collegiate level strength and conditioning coach.
While we spend a lot of time admiring the ones who made it to professional sports and wondering about the ones who didn’t complete college, most collegiate level athletes graduate and become professionals in the business world. The world of collegiate sports provides many opportunities to students who might not have had the money to go to college at all. Let’s support them by encouraging them to take advantage of the opportunities provided–the opportunity to get a degree, something they will be able to use a lifetime.