Should student-athletes receive a paycheck? Maybe

Christopher A. Smith

Since one-on-one battles are going to become more common between my counterpart, Liam Murphy, and I, why not start now with a response to his column last week regarding whether or not student-athletes should be paid?

I am not completely sure of the details of this issue, because I am uncertain of what would go into paying student-athletes for their participation in intercollegiate athletics.

For example, who would pay these salaries? It would be quite a burden on the NCAA, and many university athletic departments struggle to make a profit as it is.

But being a student-athlete, I do have some gripes with Liam’s claims.

Liam is mistaken in his claim that athletes get a free education. Only a small percentage of athletes have their entire tuition paid for.

And he says that at a school like Villanova, athletes would be less likely to need the extra money. I would argue that such a statement works against his point. Villanova has one of the highest tuitions in the nation, so it would be at a school like Villanova where athletes would be in need of the money more.

While paying athletes, specifically college basketball players, might not be the correct solution to the problem of athletes leaving early for the pros, it certainly is an option that could help, and it deserves further research.

Liam also says that he feels bad for athletes from the inner city, and that if they are in such need of money then they should focus their attention on getting to the next level, where the monetary rewards are plentiful.

I think it is safe to say that any Division I-A athlete at Villanova has aspirations to go to the next level. But it is so incredibly difficult to get there that no one should base his or her financial future on such a dream.And several sports on this campus do not even offer competition at the professional level.

Whether or not some athletes can get a summer job, another of Liam’s arguments, is irrelevant, because for the athletes who are trying to get to the next level, the summer is a time for intense training.

Oftentimes, athletes choose to play in a summer league away from home.

So now everyone is asking, how much would student-athletes be paid? Again, I am not sure if college athletes should get paid, but there are several arguments that can be made to support the idea.

Athletes would not need to worry about trying to make an extra buck and the fear of NCAA violations if they had some reward for the time and effort put into representing his or her institution in a positive manner.

Obviously every athlete would deserve the same amount, or discrimination would exist and the matter would get even more complicated. A good number might be the same amount that work-study students receive, somewhere in the vicinity of $500 per semester.

It’s just a thought. But the more I think of it, the more I like the idea.