Today’s question: Should the NCAA allow college athletes to get paid while they are in school?
Not even close. No … as in “hell no!”
The Beaumont Enterprise, where I used to work as editorial page editor, has this interesting feature in which it poses a question and then offers competing points of view. This week, the paper addressed the issue of paying college athletes.
I’m an old-fashioned guy when it comes to sports. Heck, I don’t even like the designated hitter rule, artificial turf, domed stadiums, or all the commercial signage pro golfers and race car drivers have to wear.
Thus, I believe college athletes have no compelling need to actually get paid for playing football and basketball, the two money-making sports for virtually all colleges and universities in America.
The question comes up in the wake of the Johnny “Football” Manziel matter involving whether he got paid for signing autographs while playing Heisman Trophy-winning football for Texas A&M University.
My take on it is this: Manziel already is getting paid by virtue of his receiving a fully funded college education. He, along with all blue-chip athletes, go to college with all their schoolwork paid for by scholarships, funded usually by huge endowments paid by big-time contributors. Texas A&M is among the richest universities on the planet, endowment-wise.
I prefer to see these young athletes also perform as students in the classroom, without the perk of capitalizing on their athletic skills through payoffs handed to them under the table.
I cannot predict what the NCAA will rule in the Manziel case. From my perch, it doesn’t look good for Johnny Football.
As for paying college athletes? A free college education is payment enough.