Student Athletes

There is a movement afoot to provide a stipend, legalese for “pay,” to student athletes in college, in addition to their tuition, books, and lodging. The rationale for this is driven by the large crowds in football stadiums and basketball arenas throughout the country where the 128 Division 1-A teams play. In essence the question is, “since all this revenue is being created, why aren’t those responsible getting a financial piece of it?”

That logic is true in the NFL and both the NBA and the WNBA. Athletes playing at that level are paid commensurate with their talent, as it should be.

In college, athletes on athletic scholarships are given an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of athletic involvement while pursuing a degree, the attainment of which will mean additional income averaging a million dollars more during their working lifetimes through such attainment.

During this four year process of athletics and learning, they also receive free tuition, books and living accommodations, and often, meals in season. They will have no student loans due upon graduation as compared to the $100,000 regular students are saddled with. They are duly rewarded for playing.

The argument for paying student/athletes is the misguided notion that with as much revenue as their actions in stadiums and arenas are providing, why shouldn’t they get some of that financial action? I suggest indeed they already are with their scholarships and attendant benefits.

A major problem is that far too many student/athletes do not take full advantage of the opportunities afforded them. Only 58% of football players and 47% of basketball players graduate. That is disgraceful.

I suggest that some of that money generated by revenue at games should be apportioned to the school’s athletic departments for closely monitored academic training curriculums aimed at increasing those atrocious graduation rates.

Another misguided notion athletes have is thinking their professional playing days will benefit them greatly with the added income a pro career provides.

However, less than 3% of college athletes will play professionally. Of all the senior football players in high school, only 2% will receive scholarships. Doing the math, those numbers show that .999935% of all boys playing high school football will never make a nickel playing in the NFL.

On the other hand, an education is forever.

The 128 Division 1-A Football programs have an aggregate coaching salary structure that adds up to nearly half a billion bucks a year. Even a small diversion of that money towards fully educating and graduating athletes would go a long way towards lifting those graduation rates upwards.

As far as asking the regular student body to ante up through increased student fees, that seems misguided as well, seeing they are already donating to the athletic programs, whether they go to the games or not.

Paying players invites a whole host of problems such as agents on campus representing potential clients in college getting more money than other players.

More on this issue in future Coach’s Corners.


9 responses to “Student Athletes

  1. Martha Minahan

    I told you I get this !!! I think scholarships given out should be in proportion to the numbers that graduate…graduate 25 – give 25 scholarships !!
    I know there are hardship cases – that could be figured out !

  2. Interesting comment, Martha, certainly food for thought. It would surely have an effect on recruiting procedures.

  3. Robert Chambers

    Hey Coach did you not receive my post? It was quite lengthy and well thought out. I hate if it was lost to the ethers but if so I can try to recreate.

  4. Robert Chambers

    Ok it looks like it is lost.
    Hey Coach thank you for the post.
    I agree with you and am concerned about Condalezza Rice’s opinion that differs.
    They are afforded opportunities that include an education that few are privileged to in this great country.
    That value alone Black and white dollars and cents vs. balcony and white dollars and intangible value equal more than most can comprehend.
    The school is why there is so much revenue not an individual or individuals. Otherwise we would all send checks to the school of choice by season based on high school commitments etc. and anticipated outcome. Why don’t we bet on there cuter performance etc.
    I could go on and on. It suffice to say that they (student athletes) do not dictate nor should ever dictate policy regarding their abilities and education. If they are so brazen then enter that world out of the gate and give the awesome opportunity to another worthy candidate. More to follow…

  5. Coach…

    It actually surprises me you feel so strongly about this.

    I encourage you to read this book. I have a copy I’ll gladly lend you. I just wrote a review about it. Here’s the link.

    It might just change the way you think about the whole thing.

  6. Barbarasalloum

    Your article is correct in every way🤗

  7. Great article, Jim. The true student athlete still exists In D3., but it’s been slowly changing to studen ATHLETE for some time especially in D1 where it’s all about money….

  8. Unfortunately it has changed for the worse, in my opinion. The schools
    have to complete their committment to players and help them in getting a
    degree. Too many fall through the cracks.

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