Sports: College athletes should not be paid

NIKKI NAIDU

Simply put: college students are not professional athletes who are paid inducements and salaries for a career in sports. Through their participation in sports, college athletes earn access to a college education often accompanied by a scholarship that covers tuition, book fees, room and board and numerous other expenses. Collegiate sports is not career or profession, it is an aspiring athlete’s road to success and higher education. That is all it should be.

According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) website, the average yearly scholarship for an athlete at in-state public school is $15,000, in an out of state school it is $25,000 and for a private university $35,000. These scholarships are only awarded to the elite- the outstanding student athletes who are valuable to schools in a plethora of ways. This even gives student athletes a distinct advantage over their peers. Student athletes have the ability to graduate without the burden of massive student loans over their heads, while the majority of students are not given that luxury.

College athletes are paid not with money but with their education. In addition to higher education, players learn values that go beyond the classroom and will be translated into the workforce that go beyond school. At the end of the day these are the most important things, and if all of this comes on the dime of the university, there is no reason for student athletes to receive payment.

Guilderland High School (GHS) student Ania Alberski believes that colleges athletes should be focused on learning because that’s why they are in college in the first place. She says, “It’s kind of ridiculous that kids can get scholarships to good colleges based on their athletic ability since they don’t have much to offer academically.” She adds that, “Most of these athletes are like trophies- they are only there to make the school look more appealing and renowned.” It is unfair to take away scholarship opportunities from those who work hard and deserve it, and give those scholarships to athletes who are solely focused on their sport.

If universities began to pay athletes, there would most definitely be a widening gap between those students who work extremely hard to make ends meet and the star athletes who receive scholarship money in addition to an income. This would not only create a disparity amongst peers, but also between large and small universities. Large universities with great sums of revenue would buy out all of the best players for their teams, leaving the smaller schools at an unfair disadvantage.

Just last year, University of Texas athletic director Steve Patterson revealed that his university will soon begin paying its student-athletes in every sport, male and female. UT expects to spend $6 million annually on the endeavor, which works out to roughly $10,000 per athlete per year. The money will cover college expenses that aren’t covered by traditional scholarships and give each player $5,000 in compensation for the use of their image. The latter is in connection to the O’Bannon lawsuit. While an athletic department like Texas- the most profitable in the country, can easily cover these expenses, other schools are intimidated that cuts in sports could be casualties from these additional payments to athletes.

GHS student Ryan Mcklusky agrees with UT’s endeavor stating that “student athletes should be given money to spend leisurely because most of them are exploited by a huge money making industry.” However, isn’t college life all about being broke and working hard to make ends meet? If athletes are paid, they are on the verge of being spoiled and losing sight of their motivation and work ethic.

Furthermore, the disparity would widen even more with the question of equal wages amongst male and female athletes. The NCAA reported that 28.3 million viewers watched the 2015 NCAA men’s Division I National Championship between Wisconsin and Duke. They also reported that there were 3.1 million viewers for the 2015 NCAA Women’s Division I National Championship between Notre Dame and UConn. Obviously, these numbers vary vastly and the statistics show that more people are interested in watching men play sports than watching women play sports. The same goes for Division II and Division III sports, why shouldn’t athletes of all gender be paid the same amount for equal practice, performance, and play? It’s all because of statistics that are prejudiced, unfair and bound to spiral into much worse problems with female athletes entering the arena to fight for equal pay.

At UNC Asheville, track and field runner Kelsie Rubino was unaware on her school’s decision to pay only the men’s and women’s basketball players, but not the scholarship athletes in 12 other sports. “I don’t think that’s fair! I don’t understand why some students are going to be paid and others aren’t,” Rubino stated. “I feel like we all put in the same amount of work and effort, and I thought we were all one big family.”

Several people argue that student athletes are like machines, toys that are labored away for a multi-billion dollar business. That is far from the truth. Whether these athletes pan out as professionals or not, they made a name for themselves and they are graduating from college debt free. The NCAA graduation rate for student athletes is 60%. This means that 40% of student athletes are transferring schools, dropping out, or simply unable to graduate. The majority of the time, it is the latter and this makes it more difficult for unsuccessful athletes to find jobs in the work force later on. Paying student athletes would only increase the percentage of those unable to graduate, because they would become too confident of their skills and become even more unmotivated to focus on academics.

Northwestern University football players filed a petition last year to form a labor union and by popular vote, a ruling allowed for the formation of this union. Since when does getting the chance to play a game you love everyday constitute as a job? College athletes need to recognize their opportunity as a privilege, that most people often don’t get to have. Essentially, if athletes do work hard enough to get to the professional level, then they can make a job out of it. College athletes are invited to play at top notch universities because of their passion and love for the game, which makes them excel at it. When you combine wages with college sports, this passion is lost. Becoming a student athlete is about pride and the intense passionate gratification that a win brings to a team and all of its fans, it should not be a measure of material value.

College is a place for people to obtain a degree to help jumpstart their “real world” career aspirations. Whether people want to capitalize on that opportunity or not, it is completely on them. College is not a place for athletes to get paid to play sports, and that is why the professional level of athletics exists. It is important to remember that “student” comes first in “student athlete.”

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Sports: College athletes must be paid

EDDY YU

Should college athletes be paid? This has been a big question for the past decade. Until recently, the National Collegiate Athletic Association(NCAA) has said no, and labeled college athletes as amateurs who would not get paid. Is this fair? Or is it exploitation? College football and basketball programs generate billions of dollars every year. Where does all this money go if the players don’t get a cent? I’ll tell you where the money goes, it goes to the NCAA, the universities, tv programs, and coaches. Many college athletes work just as hard as the pros with top football and men’s basketball players putting up to 60 hours a week in games and practices. That’s longer than most adults work. On top of that, they have to attend classes and get their hw done. Yet they’re not getting paid! It just doesn’t make sense. Often sports don’t allow student athletes to find a job or to get an intern, which many other students obtain to make ends meet.

Many people believe that many college athletes have the “good life.” The average FULL scholarship athlete accumulates an average of 3,200 dollars of debt each year because meal plans and other incidentals often aren’t fully covered. Shabazz Napier, star playing of the reigning NCAA basketball champion University of Connecticut last year who is now in the NBA, once said “There are nights that I go to bed and I’m starving.”  How can that be right? A star whose image was used on TV all over nation, whose jerseys are sold all over the country, doesn’t have enough money for food? For the very reason that they aren’t earning money when they should and they need to, there are college athletes that end up dropping out of college, and missing out on key education in hope of joining the pros and earning some very-much needed cash.

Even if colleges don’t pay athletes, someone should. Endorsements. What are endorsements? To put it frankly, in this sense, an endorsement is a company or business paying an athlete to sponsor them or be in commercials for them. Why aren’t college athletes aren’t allowed to go make money for themselves? Who is Jeremy Bloom? A football player? A skier?  He is in fact both or was until the NCAA stepped in. Olympian and World Champion skier Jeremy Bloom attended the University of Colorado, and played football there for two years, hoping one day to play in the NFL(National Football League).  According to the NCAA’s long list of rules, college athletes aren’t allowed to have endorsement deals. On the other hand, the United States Olympic Committee encourages endorsements as international travel is expensive and in order for Bloom to continue skiing, he needed to obtain these endorsements. Bloom knew that the NCAA banned endorsements so he sued them on that issue but eventually decided to defy the NCAA and take up endorsements. It was either that or give up skiing. He tried everything he could to not make these endorsements have anything to do with the NCAA. He made sure his sponsors were not football related and never mentioned football in them.. However, the NCAA found out and banned him from playing the college sport he loved, football. As a result, Bloom missed his chance to play football as an upperclassman. “I did all these things to prepare and I worked hard and the one thing I really wanted was to start at receiver. To look back and think that it wasn’t my ability that kept me from doing that, it was an organization…I thought that was really unfair.” Bloom said.

In many colleges, sports are a bigger priority than education, as coaches tell students to switch classes if it conflicts with practice. Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel used to play football at the Texas A&M University. He was once suspended when he was paid for signing autographs. The NCAA rule is that players cannot sell their image or likeness for profit. The problem is…that’s exactly what colleges do with their star players. It’s estimated that when Manziel won the Heisman trophy in 2012(awarded to the best college football player every year), $37 million dollars in profit was generated through media exposure for the university. Additionally, Texas A&M raised $740 million dollars in fundraising that year, $440 million dollars more than the school’s old record. No doubt that a large percentage of that huge increase is a result of star Johnny Manziel’s image being broadcast on television all over nation. So universities are cashing in, television stations are cashing in, coaches are paid millions, and who are they only one’s that aren’t? The players themselves. Why are the coaches being paid so much when some players are equally or more responsible for bringing money to the universities?

The National College Players Association and Drexel University conducted a joint study on Football Bowl Subdivision colleges which includes all the top football colleges. They discovered that of the players that earned a “full” scholarship, 85% of players who lived on campus lived below the federal poverty line and 86% of players living off campus lived below the federal poverty line. This study also showed that the fair market value of an average FBS football player was $121, 048 and the average FBS basketball player to be $265, 027. If these student athletes are worth so much, why are they still living in poor conditions?

Ed O’Bannon played basketball for UCLA. In 2009, over 10 years after graduating, he realized that his image was used in a video game without his consent and without compensation. He then fired a lawsuit against NCAA and EA Sports(the videogame company). This lawsuit quickly became popular as 19 other former college athletes soon joined this lawsuit. Judge Claudia Wilken and the court ruled in favor of Bannon and declared the NCAA ban on players being paid for their image illegal. Starting in the spring of 2016, athletes in top football and basketball programs will have to be paid at least $5,000 a year for their image being used on television and for video games. However, this money will be placed in a trust account, that players can only access after they graduate college which doesn’t help many who are scraping to get by. Nevertheless, it’s a start in bringing change to the strict harsh rules of the NCAA and in the near future, perhaps finally college athletes will be paid what they deserve.

Super Bowl, Super Controversy

BY RYAN PORTER

Arguably two of the best teams in the National Football League, the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, will fight for the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XLIX. The Seattle Seahawks, led by star quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch, just came off of a thrilling 28-22 overtime victory over the Green Bay Packers. The 12th Man, as Seattle calls their extremely loud fans, helped Seattle spring a 4th quarter comeback which was capped off when Wilson threw a game winning touchdown in overtime.

The New England Patriots, led by quarterback Tom Brady and 6 feet 6 inch tight end Rob Gronkowski, are coming off a blowout win over the Colts, and an allegation that the New England footballs were deliberately deflated. It is said that the Patriots deflated the footballs used in the game, as it would be easier to throw and hold in the cold. Meeting in Super Bowl XLIX at the University of Phoenix Stadium, the home field of the Arizona Cardinals, will feel far from home for both teams as the Seattle Seahawks will not have their 12th Man screaming in the background and the Patriots will not have reassurance that they will hold on to their deflated footballs.

The 12-4 Seahawks and defending Super Bowl champs have the advantage going into the game, by not having to fuss with all the controversy that the Patriots do. All the Seahawks have to do is focus on becoming back to back Super Bowl Champs, which is not as simple as it sounds. First of all, to become the Super Bowl Champions, you need to make the playoffs and not lose from there. As hard as that sounds, they are trying to do that again! The good thing is, the Seahawks do well in big games. The Seahawks have arguably won every big game they have played this year beating the Packers, Cardinals, 49ers and the Eagles. And one other thing going there way? They happen to have one of the best quarterbacks in the entire National Football League in Russell Wilson. Standing at five feet eleven inches, the dual threat quarterback has 3475 yards on the year has had nothing short of a spectacular season.

The also 12-4 New England Patriots have dominated the teams they have played this year with a blowout in the AFC Championship. Distracted by the deflating football issue, some may say that they are at a disadvantage going into the game. However, Bill Belichick’s Patriots are favored by one point in the biggest game of the year. How could that be? Most likely since they have a Hall of Fame quarterback leading their offense. Tom Brady in the opinion of some, is the best quarterback to ever play in the National Football League. With 4,109 yards and 33 touchdowns on the year, Brady will play a key factor in deciding the outcome of the game.

With all the controversy and a game as unpredictable as the coin flip, a record number of people watching is supposed to be achieved. So what do you feel more confident in picking? The coin flip or the winner of Super Bowl XLIX?

Dutchmen basketball plays hard in loss to Shenendehowa

BY JAKE WHEELER

The gym at Shenendehowa was filled last evening, January 20, as the Guilderland mens varsity basketball team squared up with the Plainsmen: a clash of undefeated teams with two crazy fan sections behind them. The stands were absolutely packed, with people filing in to see two high flying offenses. Shen, led by the Huerter brothers, went at it against the Guilderland D1 prospect Andrew Platek. Platek is a junior for the Dutchmen and shows his range behind the arch every game.

The sharpshooter Platek and Guilderland were unable to come out on top. Shen topped Guilderland 56-43. In a close battle throughout the game, Shen seemed to always be a few points up. Sophomore Mike Wine had a terrific game, driving in and causing havoc for Shen. Captain Ralphy Simeone also had a few critical jumpers. Platek was man marked the whole game.

Upcoming for the Dutchmen: Friday night at Bethlehem. Guilderland hopes to get back on track and win, hoping to become hot right before sectionals.

The last time: a reflection

BY EDDY YU

Facing elimination, four girls, water dripping from their bodies, clutched each other in agony as they waited for their swim relay score to go up. Although it was only a couple seconds, it seemed to be forever. Suddenly the scores were up. 1:41:33, enough to qualify for states. Captain and senior Kelly Gao was one of the four swimmers along with Steph Erickson, Olivia Bigge, and Belen Marriaga“ It didn’t even register at first, but then Steph gasped and whipped around and Olivia screamed so loudly I could have sworn glass shattered haha. To say happiness knocked me over like a tsunami would have been an understatement.” Kelly Gao has been swimming for ten years and was just looking to have one last great swim representing Guilderville (Guilderland and Voorheesville combine for swimming). “After screaming our heads off and hugging each other and celebrating like maniacs on the pool deck, it hit me that I was actually going to return to states this year, and this time with 3 incredible teammates whom I’ve seen struggle in practice and work their hardest every afternoon. I was beyond ecstatic, so thankful to them and so relieved that this was not my last race after all.”

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