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Should college athletes be paid?

As the end of March Madness draws near, TV ratings are the highest they've been in years. The NCAA tournament generates billions of dollars, though not for the players themselves. We asked sources in the Public Insight Network to share their take.

Molly Bloom

on 29 March 2011

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Transcript of Should college athletes be paid?

College athletes are paid. What else would you call scholarships? Free tutoring services?

I've taught at two colleges and juggling academic life with practice and competition isn't easy. For student-athletes at two-year schools, add one or two jobs to the juggling act.

In the best cases, athletes sign up for classes together to create an atmosphere of mutual responsibility. Such students ride each other for being late or failing a quiz, and are much harsher than I could ever be. -Steve Bein, Rochester, MN No. Having had the opportunity to compete in college and also the opportunity to coach both Division I (scholarship) and Division III athletes (non-scholarship) athletes, I can say that the experience and opportunity to pay for an education is reward enough for competing in athletics. - Greg Earhart, Kenosha, WI Yes, they bring significant income to the University and should be paid with more than just tuition. They risk their health and deserve more.
-Katrin Green, Oklahoma City, OK Absolutely not. I think college sports has become absolutely corrupted by money, but I don't think paying the athletes is the solution.

I was a cheerleader in college, and remain primarily a college sports fan. I believe that by in large (across most sports) college athletics doesn't have a real problem. Most sports, the athletes aren't looking to college as a stepping stone towards an athletic career...because there is no future career for them in their chosen sport.

I really think the bulk of the "problem" of college athletics is two sports: basketball, and football. In both cases, the problem is that there are lucrative professional leagues in the sport which do not have appropriate mechanisms for developing talent. Instead, both the NBA and the NFL largely look to colleges to do talent development for them. -Jacy Grannis, Houston, TX Yes, but only in the cases where sports generate revenues that justify those payments. The vast majority of college athletic programs lose money.

A few big football and basketball programs are actually profitable. These revenues subsidize other sports and actually generate funds for libraries and such.

When the school is actually earning profits off the back of athletes (and again I stress that this is rarely the case), students deserve a cut of the value they create. Of course, the free tuition should be deducted first. I would start by cutting into the coaches' salaries. They often earn more than the university president, and they're directly profiting off of the students' labors. -Martin Lewison, New York, NY former professor of sports managemnt, used to tutor student athletes Nope. What happened to going to school for education vs athletics? I understand the value of sports, I was an athlete, but very few people make a living playing sports. Scholarships seem to be payment enough and I would think paying them would encourage athletes to further remove themselves from the academics.

It's hard to be a college athlete. I remember working out approximately 40 hours a week, rendering the possibility of a job nearly impossible. But it's a choice. I knew that I wasn't going to the olympics or going to be paid for anything, but it was a good experience at the time. -Jason Rysavy, Minneapolis, MN My experience has been only as a spectator but that has changed over the years because athletes that used to begin a sport such as basketball usually played with the same college for all four years. It was fun to watch them mature and even visit with them at the university after games. Now so many play one or two years and then leave to try out for a professional team.

I still remember the Fab Five from Michigan who played in our Final Four in Mpls at the Metrodome. I watched them practice and followed their careers. Now that so many leave early I do not get to know them in the same way and I no longer follow the sport as I used to. The coaches seem to be the ones I know best. Money! Money causes them to leave. That would be my reason for paying them in college and having them share the money earned from tournaments. They would then get to finish their education as well as have some financial gain. -Betty Pankuch, Apple Valley, MN
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