Emphatic ‘no!’ on paying college athletes

I saw a Time magazine cover yesterday at work, with a picture of Johnny “Football” Manziel on its cover and a headline that says it’s time to pay college athletes.

I don’t need to read the article thoroughly to know I’ll disagree with it. Its premise is wrong on its face — in my humble view.

Manziel, of course, is the Texas A&M University Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who endured a half-game suspension as his “punishment” for getting paid for autographs he signed. Manziel has become the poster boy for this ridiculous assertion that college athletes need to be paid for their services.

What utter nonsense.

They get paid already. Handsomely, too. The payment comes in the form of a free college education. Manziel is a blue-chip athlete who received a full-ride scholarship to Texas A&M. Did he get that scholarship because of his academic prowess? No. He’s being paid for his football skills, which put more than 80,000 people in the seats at Kyle Field and fills other stadiums to capacity wherever else the Aggies play football on any given Saturday.

How much would Johnny Football be paying if he wasn’t compensated? He’s pay about $8,000 annually in tuition and another $8,000 per year for room and board. I haven’t even calculated the cost of books, lab fees and other ancillary expenses that go with getting a college education.

Manziel gets paid. So do any of the scholarship athletes who compete in any college in the nation.

Pay these people? You must be kidding.

I remain wedded to the notion that student-athletes should have to toe the line. They should go to school, crack the books, study hard, work with tutors to help them get through those periods when they’re away from school participating in athletic events — and then play their guts out when the whistle sounds to start the game.

Mr. Football and his fellow scholarship athletes do not need more payment for demonstrating their athletic prowess.