College Football: Why The NCAA Needs to Begin Paying Student Athletes

Andrew StewartContributor IOctober 22, 2010

BERKELEY, CA - NOVEMBER 12:  (FILE PHOTO) Reggie Bush #5 of the USC Trojans runs with the ball against the California Golden Bears at Memorial Stadium on November 12th, 2005 in Berkeley, California. Bush was picked second overall by the New Orleans Saints in the 2066 NFL Draft on April 29, 2006.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Why shouldn't a student athlete receive money for their commitment to the university? The NCAA has always struggled to understand the way to keep kids in school.

The answer is simple...

pay them.

The student athlete has become one of the strongest icons on university campuses across the nation.  Yet, it has also become one of the weakest. 

Over the past couple of years, the NCAA has had its hands full with allegations ranging from collegiate coaches aiding players during there SAT's, to college athletes receiving money from boosters and agents.  

There is no reason why these kids should not receive compensation considering the money they make the universities. Every year these universities use their athletes for countless forms of publicity and advertisements, whether it be a team schedule or a commercial on a conference or national television channel. 

The money does not find its way into the hands of the students. Instead, it goes into the hands of the greedy money-hungry universities. 

A simple idea could consist of paying all athletes a minimum hourly-wage. The same hourly wage that they pay other students to work in the dining hall or library. Each athlete would be payed for every hour that they participate in all athletic events, whether it be practice or team meetings.  

It amazes me that a student can apply for a job on campus at the university book store and earn money, however, that same student is unable to receive compensation for their athletic contributions to the university. 

Sure most of the athletes are given a full or partial scholarship, yet the very individuals that help make these Goliath universities receive nothing in return. 

Most kids cannot rely on their parents to help financially. For some, an athletic scholarship is the only way to continue their education. Yet, the media has become baffled as to why a college student would accept money or gifts from an outside source. 

During my freshman year at Liberty, in the spring of 2009, I decided to tryout for the football team. I was very hesitant to tryout, because I knew how much commitment goes into becoming a successful football player, let alone at the division one level. 

Another concern of mine was money. As a freshman, it was a wake up call not having any parents to rely on. However, I was reassured by my parents that they would cover any expenses I needed, if I played football. 

Our football program played in the Football Sub-Division Championship, formerly known as D1-AA. With over 90 other hopeful athletes trying out, I beat the odds and was given a spot on the roster. 

Now as a student athlete for the university, I was forced to abide by a new set of NCAA rules. 

During our first meeting, one of the most emphasized subjects from our coach was the "Do's and Don'ts".

We were told that, as student athletes, we were not allowed to accept anything from an outside source that could be questioned, whether it be a free dinner or a few bucks for being on the team.  

Unfortunately, I became ineligible after failing to pass the NCAA clearing house. However, in that short period of time, I was immersed in the life of a college athlete and the struggle to enjoy the little things others might take for granted, such as going out to the movies on a Friday. 

Students should not be punished for playing sports, yet these universities continue to make money at the expense of every college athlete in America.