Feature: Saturday Tailgate

The Solution to the NCAA Pay for Play Controversy

Author: Khari Thompson
Published: April 04, 2012 at 6:37 pm

The NCAA was founded in 1906 with noble intentions. According to it's website NCAA.org it's core purpose is "To govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable, and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student athlete is paramount" Translation? Its their job to make sure that their student-athletes have the best possible college experience. Its their job to keep the playing field level, and to punish those who decide to make it unequal. Its their job to serve as a protector for all student athletes, against physical, mental, and financial danger. Because as we have come to find out, there are people in the world of college sports who want to hurt student-athletes.

For an organization with such honorable intentions, the NCAA sure does get a lot of negative press. It is nearly impossible these days to hear the phrase "NCAA" without words like "suspension", "investigation", and "sanction" following close behind. In fact, many young people (who the NCAA is designed to protect), view the NCAA negatively. This is because the media has vilified the NCAA. They have made the NCAA seem like the bad guys, when in reality they are trying to be heroes. The NCAA is by no means a perfect system, but there is no denying that they do exactly what they are supposed to do. They protect their student-athletes. Nevertheless, there is one issue that I disagree with the NCAA on, and that is their refusal to allow student athletes to be paid.

Collegiate athletes deserve to be paid. The scholarships that they receive cover school-related expenses. They cover books, tuition, and room and board. These scholarships allow athletes to attend class, eat, and sleep on campus for free. What they don't do, is give the players money. Many NCAA athletes come from disadvantaged backgrounds, where their families can't afford to give them money. So, if the school isn't giving them money, and their families aren't giving them money, how on earth are they supposed to have money? They certainly do not have any time to work. During the day, these guys have to go to class, go to practice, sit down and do hours of homework, and attempt to get a proper amount of rest so they can get up and do it all over again the next day.

The NCAA also prohibits it's student athletes from accepting gifts. Student-athletes aren't allowed to receive money, discounts on any item or service, or even Christmas or birthday presents. Heck, the NCAA even has rules about who can buy or make dinner for a student-athlete. According to the NCAA Rules Guide For Parents of Student-Athletes, "Meals in the home of a student athlete's parent must be preapproved and documented through the athletic department". What? If a student-athlete wants to go home and eat a home cooked meal, he has to file paperwork and ask permission? And the school has the right to say no? Rules are rules, but that seems pretty excessive. Basically the student-athletes are allowed to use what the school gives them, and nothing else. These people are expected sacrifice their bodies for their schools for anywhere between 1-4 years, and they are only allowed to use what their institution gives them to get by. Sound familiar? It sounds a whole lot like indentured servitude to me.

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Article Author: Khari Thompson

My name is Khari Thompson and I am a junior at Boston Latin School Although I am far from making my final decisions about college, I know that I would like to pursue a career in journalism. I am using this blog to hone my skills and and voice my opinions …

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