I recently purchased a copy of EA Sports NCAA Football 2013 like I do every year, but I had a different feeling this year as I started mashing the buttons. Every year I edit the rosters to name my favorite players because as we all know, it's not legal for college students to make money off naming rights in video games.
I took to Twitter to declare my love for the game, but I saw something troubling.
Oklahoma running back Roy Finch tweeted, "I'm tired of thinking its time for action....I need to get paid trynna get my money up. School fakin on the money so I gotta go get it...."
Now, just from reading that it would seem that Finch was angered because his scholarship or loan money wasn't coming on time. As a former college student, I can attest that universities don't always deposit the loan money when they should.
Tweets like this are the reasons why college students are committing NCAA violations and taking extra benefits. They don't have the money to pay rent, eat or keep their cars filled with gas to get around off campus.
If I were in the same position and someone came along and said they'd pay me so much monthly for free autographs or tickets to a game, I wouldn't hesitate to accept that offer. These young athletes are just trying to survive like the rest of us.
I know you're probably reading this saying "they are athletes; they feel entitlement. They can get a job like the rest of us," but it's not that simple. These athletes are practicing one half of the day and going to school the second half; there's really no extra time for them to hold a job.
Reggie Bush is a prime example of a student athlete who was punished for looking out for his best interests. He accepted money to get him through school and have his family taken care of at the same time. It wasn't like the money was making him play any better; it's not like steroids.
He was a great athlete who felt like he had to beat the struggle.
My simple solution to the problem? Pay college athletes a salary throughout their time enrolled at the university.
Now there have been many times where paying athletes has come up in the past, and the main argument is that college players would get lazy and just collect the money. But an answer to that problem would be to pay them based on performance. If students knew they were getting a paycheck based on how hard they were working, I guarantee that they would get into less money-related trouble, and the universities wouldn't be disciplined for this.
It's sad that we play video games with these players' likenesses clearly portrayed in the games, but they can't collect any type of paycheck from game publishers. But the NCAA does. Universities get a certain amount of money for going to bowl games. I say take that money, split it up and give it to your players.
We buy the team gear based on what's happening on the court or the field, so do what's right: PAY THESE ATHLETES!