Response to Johnny's "There's so much money going around, well, mostly"

smith5568's picture
May 15, 2013 at 7:54 pm

I started out writing a post under the actual article but found myself creating a long, thought out argument so I created this instead. 
I do not feel that players should be compensated anymore than they already are. As many have mentioned, the costs of attending a university (tuition, books, living expenses, interest on student loan debt, etc.) are extremely high and more than adequately compensate the players. 
It seems as though the majority of the opposing camp seems to hang their hat on the idea that the level of compensation a player receives from a scholarship is inequitable when compared with coaches salaries and the revenues generated by athletic departments. Well I ask, what about a med student who pays tuition to the university for the opportunity to learn their profession and refine their craft? They are stewards of The Ohio State University Medical School and the Les Wexner Medical Center. How they perform in the classroom, in academia, and as professionals (whether they work for OSU or not) directly impacts the reputation of the University and the Medical Center. The good will and reputation produced by students and doctors from the University allow the Medical School and Medical Center to achieve some of its recognition and increase funding. The Med Center and Med School revenue dwarfs the Athletic Departments. An example is the $1 billion renovations/additions being made to the Med Center, which is where the med students are trained. Do you think it is unfair that med students are not paid?
Additionally, all students add to the reputation and value proposition that a university proposes to new students and displays to the academic community. This is why admissions standards have continued to increase at OSU. A published undergraduate, graduate, or law student does not receive any money for their work (maybe they have a scholarship), yet by becoming published they have fostered a better reputation for the university. The better the academic reputation, the higher tuition a university may charge its students. Do you think published students should have the ability to be paid as well, or are their contributions to the university unworthy? I have worked on several scholarly articles in undergrad and grad school. The amount of work put in, while taking a full course load of non-gimme classes, is equal to that which a student-athlete puts in. Especially if the student also has to work part-time to make ends meet. Perhaps student-athletes have a higher perceived value because they are more visible and are given higher status than academics and academia in our society. Student-athletes work tirelessly, and should be commended for their efforts, however, so do other students who do not receive scholarships, free-rides, recognition, and fame, but still contribute significantly to the university and enable it to generate increased revenue.
Lastly, let's recognize college football for what it really is, it is mostly professional training for young men interested in joining the profession of football. Professional training does not typically come for free (I should know I just finished forking over more than I care to say for a professional education). Now, imagine your profession or what you hope your profession to be. Next, imagine that one of the pre-eminent institutions and practitioners in your profession asked you to come work for them for 4 years with no salary, even though they will generate hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue while you are there. It will be hard work with long days and short nights, but the relationships you make and experiences you have will be life altering. In return for your hard work and dedication, they will teach you in-depth knowledge regarding the profession and all of the tools of the trade necessary to succeed in your profession and in life. Whether you succeed or not is up to you, but they are willing to give you this professional education and a path to success for free. They foot the bill for all living expenses and incidentals. Would you turn this opportunity down or say that it is unfair that they make money while you receive "nothing" in return?
Those are some of my arguments opposing the payment of players. Agree or disagree, I think the issues are much deeper than just "they make money off those poor players and the players receive nothing in return, that is unfair, players should be paid." I hope these thoughts, along with Johnny's article and others opinions, continue to spark thoughtful debate on this issue among the community.         

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