In a town where football has skyrocketed to the top of the priority list, other sports and athletes are starting to get more attention. USF’s 7-year-old football program garnered national attention, though not much, this last season when it came within a hair of getting a bowl bid.
With that kind of recognition and a coach re-signed with a salary larger than that of the university’s president, a movement among college athletes is beginning. The question is whether college athletes should be paid, and some schools, such as the University of Nebraska, are already pushing the issue.
For some schools, such as Nebraska, that make more than $16 million a year in revenue just from its collegiate football team, a piece of the pie for athletes may seem only fair. However, for most football programs, including USF’s, sports have not yet generated the kind of revenue that could justify pay for athletes. Athletes already receive enough monetary compensation and recognition, therefore, pay would only hurt the university financially.
Many student athletes have their way paid through college with scholarships that cover their tuition, room and board. Also, when traveling, athletes are flown all over the country and lodged in hotels at the school’s expense. And the overriding reason that these athletes are playing college sports is so that they can develop their abilities while earning a college degree. If that’s not the reason they attend a college of higher learning, then they should just turn pro and take their chances with the NBA, NFL or MLB.
USF cannot afford to pay its athletes, and other schools across the country that are pushing the issue should reevaluate the situation. Plus, the NCAA has not made any move to amend its laws regarding athlete compensation. Without the support of the NCAA, Nebraska could find itself on a very short blacklist.
Athletes should be grateful they are able to attend college for free while honing skills doing something they love. Scholarships, room and board, travel stipends and the roar of the crowd are enough compensation.