Penn State Football: Should Players "Pay For Play"? I Say No Way

Lauren WilliamsContributor IOctober 14, 2009

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 19: A Field Judge stands on the field during a game between the Temple Owls and the Penn State Nittany Lions on September 19, 2009 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Year after year, big time NCAA Football programs rake in millions of dollars for their respective universities. Penn State, without question, is one of those great programs. With the large amount of revenue brought in, the controversial question is often asked: Should college athletes get “paid for play”? My answer…no.

I follow Penn Live (PSU football news and updates) on Twitter and I found myself interested in a recent blog posting entitled Some players want to see paychecks, a playoff and harder rules on quarterbacks”. I read the post and as I get further to the bottom I see a quote from Penn State cornerback, AJ Wallace.

"I think we should get paid. … Sometimes you go around the regular students and they talk about they don’t have time for this, they don’t have time for that. But we’re up at six in the mornin’ while they’re still sleeping running around and lifting weights and stuff. It’s a rough style for anyone in college, I think. … it’s mostly the time, really. You have to finish all your classes before 2:45, so you have to take them in the morning. And you may not be a morning person.

Nothing no crazy amount, but something nice. A couple hundred [per month] would be nice."

My mind began racing and trying to wrap my head around this concept of “pay for play” I was very taken aback by the statement.

“Regular students”, made me laugh as I read it. In a sense, Wallace is right.

To me, a student, this statement is a testament to the fact that some football players take free education for granted. Penn State is the most expensive public university in the country.  Out of state, you’re looking at roughly $18,000 a year. The importance of a college education is very evident with today’s economy. Knowledge is power. I feel lucky enough to be able to go to a renowned school like Penn State. Each student at any university should feel that way, football player or "regular student". If they wanted to, the university could argue that as the “pay for play”.

As a “regular student”, everyday I find myself saying, “Man, there seriously aren’t enough hours in the day”. I mean we do participate in things other than just class. Student organizations, internships, and jobs all help students build a resumé—a critical component in getting a job to sustain yourself once you graduate. I’m able to balance 17 credits, two internships, director of promotions for a magazine, and public relations chair for a journalist group. So, yes, I can say, “I don’t have time for this or that.”

Wallace is right, we don’t have to wake up, and lift weights and go to practice. However, that’s the price you pay for choosing to be a college athlete. Don’t gripe and complain. Manage your time and deal, like any other adult has to do in this world. Look at the big picture: the NFL. Waking up at 6:45 a.m. during college will seem insignificant if you’re able to make seven figures a year for the rest of your career. Football star or “regular student”, there’s a price to pay to be successful.  

Let’s face the facts here; there are many “perks” of being a NCAA football player for an established program. I don’t have to list them, any college student knows.

I read further down the blog posting and found a comforting quote by running back, Stefphon Green.

"No, man, that takes the joy out of college football. You’re working to get there. That’s why college football is so much excitement because you’re working to get there."

My sentiments exactly.

I am not taking anything from college football. Much of what you receive is well deserved. Many star players are expected to carry their coaches and players on their backs with their unpaid labor. So I can understand why players would want to be paid

All I ask is that you understand that you are lucky, be grateful for what is given to you throughout this four-year journey called college. 

Just don’t belittle “regular students” trying to convey your point. After all, where would you really be without us “regular” people?


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