We all know how paying collegiate athletes has been a hot topic of discussion in this, one of the most controversial of college football offseasons. When the idea first came out at Big Ten spring meetings, there were mixed reactions.
Many believed paying players would only lead to more under-the-table deals. These skeptics point out that, with their expenses paid for, student athletes of this age will feel the inclination to commit more wrong-doings.
If that is true, then our country may have intelligence standards set way too low. But I doubt that.
Should conferences (or universities for that matter) decide to give players a piece of the pie, that they rightfully deserve I might add, it would be eliminating a scapegoat for these perpetrators to lean on.
In the event that these players get exposed for taking improper benefits (e.g. Terrelle Pryor), there would simply be no excuse that could be presented to the NCAA's Committee on Infractions.
A player like former Ohio State receiver Ray Small, for example, admitted breaking rules after the fact, but still felt it necessary to defend himself and pointed to the fact that he faced a choice to either "break the rules or get evicted."
There have not been others who have directly referenced the necessity to pay expenses but, I'm sure that that alibi entered their mind at some point when they decided to sell jerseys or take money from an agent.
Should players get paid?
If the Big Ten, for example, gave stipends to players, they would most likely come with an expectation that these players would no longer have any reason to break the NCAA bylaws which prohibit improper benefits.
This expectation would subsequently lead to less rule-breakers. Collegiate athletes have more common sense than to break a rule in which they were publicly given a solution to.
These stipends would come with rules on top of an expectation. It is hard to believe that a conference like the Big Ten would simply start handing out cash with no stipulations on how it is to be used.
With excuses, alibis and room for loopholes eliminated, no player in their right mind would dare cheat the system. Why would they? Their food, laundry, school supplies and other expenses are paid for.
What remains are the athletes' finances which can be focused on whatever they want. Whether it be a new watch or a new laptop, athletes would be free to spend the money they worked for or the money mom sent from home, in whatever way they choose.
With this kind of freedom set in place, we would not see Reggie Bush or Terrelle Pryor-type debacles occur quite so frequently in college athletics.