Controversial collegiate compensation

By Dennis Topakov

Maria Uminski/Daily Collegian

Over the past couple of years the argument over paying college athletes has become a more prevalent conversation behind the closed doors of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as well as within sports networks such as ESPN, ABC Sports and the like. There are many individuals who believe athletes should receive some kind of compensation when it comes to playing for a university. However, the big bad NCAA insists on upholding its no-nonsense reputation by keeping a non-budging stance on the situation. When asked about paying athletes, NCAA President Mark Emmert stated, “No it will not happen – not while I’m president of the NCAA.”

I personally disagree with the “pay-for-play” ideas brought up by the public and sports analysts. From being on a college campus for almost three years and having friends who play college sports for big Division I schools, I can tell they do not need compensation. Depending on what sport an athlete plays, they will receive shoes, clothes, headphones, free meal plans and certain other contributions from the university, so it is not the case that the university is not taking care of them. I feel as though the NCAA is not ready to pay their athletes because they want to make sure that money will not be used for unlawful extra-curricular activities. Instead they provide them with food and clothing while playing for the university, which I believe is very justifiable.

However, I do have a problem with some of the laws of the NCAA when regarding athletes and money. As seen this summer with the allegation against college football superstar Johnny Manziel and his signing of autographs, the NCAA is highly against athletes profiting from selling their memorabilia or autographs. This is where my stance diverges from the NCAA’s. I believe that when athletes take time out of their day to sign autographs, jerseys or sell their memorabilia, and agree to a contract with a broker in order to get paid, there should be nothing wrong with it. The athletes are the ones who made names for themselves because of their athletic performances and therefore they are selling their own names. The NCAA did not have anything to do with their hard work, determination and success, so if an athlete wants to go out of his or her way to make some money during their free time, then why not? Another aspect which I believe the NCAA forgets is that a lot of their athletes come from relatively poor backgrounds, leading their athletes to want to make money for their families. This gives an even bigger argument against the NCAA to let athletes sell their names which they made off of their performances and hard work.

Overall I feel like college athletes should have a bit more freedom to work with when it comes to their finances. I understand why the NCAA does not pay them for their performances because they are already given food, clothing, a place to stay and a game that they love to play. However, when it comes to an athlete’s own name  and their own initiative to go out sign autographs and hand out memorabilia then that should be left up to them, their families and people who they contact for help.

Dennis Topakov is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected].