Osborne Wants to Pay College Athletes

Tom CuddContributor IJune 10, 2008

Dr. Tom Osborne spoke at the Big XII annual meeting a few weeks ago. He promoted an idea to pay athletes $2500 beyond their scholarships in order to defer the increasing costs of attending college.

This is the exact opposite of what should be suggested. Instead, I want a plan that pays everyone but scholarship athletes $2500 to help pay for school.

Are student athletes abilities being exploited for the entertainment of the masses? No more than students are being exploited to fund research that brings intellectual property returns to the school.

The increased cost of tuition, fees, and housing in the state of Nebraska had a few causes, but Mike Johanns was the number one problem. He started the worst trend you can get in education. In all the years that I attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (1999-2004), the state or governor pushed cut the budget to the whole University system.

This included the schools in Omaha and Kearney as well. These cutbacks in turn led tuition, additional fees, and many other costs to increase (including on campus housing). It was Omaha and Lincoln versus the rest of the state yet again, since his supporters didn’t feel the need to help defer the costs of running the schools.

Education is the number one factor in every imaginable economic, social, or industrial boom this nation has ever had, yet most seem to cut it first. Whenever a city, state, country is going through some kind of work or housing crisis, the first thing a local, state, or federal government should do is pour money into school systems.

Because of saved up money from paper routes and sacking groceries and scholarships, I only had to pay for my fifth year of school with student loans, leaving me about $10,000 in debt right off the bat. My wife was not so fortunate and had loans in excess of $20,000.

Yes, we (non-athlete students as a whole) could have worked harder or have been smarter. This would have helped us receive more scholarships. Or we could have trained our guts out to be an athlete, and get that money. 80% of us would have been more than happy to have received just enough to cover tuition, fees, and expenses.

To think somehow that these full scholarship athletes face some kind of hardship is ridiculous. Some athletes won’t play whatever sport forever, or even at all, professionally. These athletes need to learn how to manage what they are given, because the rest of us do it, too. To suggest giving them a break instead of giving ALL students a break is a travesty.