It is a topic that has been debated for years. With the income of NCAA school’s booming off of ticket prices, jerseys, apparel and team memorabilia, you have to ask- should student athletes be paid?
While NCAA Division 1 football, baseball and basketball games get put on national television, some athletes on the gridiron, field or court could potentially be broke. We’ve heard stories before about college athletes who have no place to live, and/or are starving. Now, the morality question comes into play. How can the NCAA executives, front office staff and even coaching staff live with themselves knowing that the players’ who are making the money for them could be out of a job with no future at the end of their post secondary sports career.
Nearly all of these students have full ride scholarships that enable them to receive a top notch education for free, all while getting a degree from a perennial school while showcasing their athletic ability to potential employers at the professional level. It seems like a pretty sweet gig, except for the fact that the percentage of professional athletes coming out of college is quite low if you’re not playing football or basketball. But, with more and more culprits providing student athletes with classes that are “fluff” or GPA boosters in order for them to still be eligible, they aren’t receiving that top notch education everyone thinks.
Most professional sports organizations have their eyes set on you well before you attend any post secondary classes. In Canada, hockey is the dominant sport. Elite-level players are in the Canadian Hockey League, or Major Junior. These athletes attend high school while earning a small meal stipend per week. The National Hockey League drafts many CHL athletes, but not all of them go on to make the big bucks or reach the show- leaving the players the option to either go to Europe and try to showcase their talents overseas, or try and sign with a University hockey team and finish their education. It is noted that 65 percent of the NHL is filled with CHL alumn, but, if you’re drafted beyond the third round your chance of lacing up your skates for the big clubs are slim.
Like the NCAA, the CHL lures players into their league by a sometimes empty promise of making the professional leagues and earning top notch moolah. While both the NCAA and CHL can get you that lifelong dream of becoming a pro athlete, it isn’t guaranteed. There should be an asterisk at the bottom of the contracts that these athletes sign that shows the real risks of becoming an athlete at this level.
I was texting my friend about this issue, he said “Well, the athletes are choosing to go there. No one is forcing them.” Which is true. But, the opportunity to play in front of crowds 50k plus while earning free education and the chance to go pro is almost a no-brainier at 17 and 18 years old. In the CHL and Canada, you’re getting the chance to have your name drafted by an NHL club- something that almost all Canadian hockey players dream of. 65 percent of CHL players make up the NHL, but only players drafted in the first three rounds have a real shot at cracking an NHL roster and making hockey career in North America’s top league.
Where am I going with this? It does sadden me that players aren’t getting paid for what they bring to the city, school and the clubs they represent. However, if they are being paid a salary for playing, the school would be professional, and would have all the right to snag away that coveted scholarship. All in all, I do think NCAA athletes should get monetary value somehow, but not a full fledged salary. Same to the CHL kids. Organizations need to give back to the players that make the teams what they are.