Comments about ‘Amy Donaldson: NCAA and college administrations should explore compensating college athletes’

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Published: Sunday, March 30 2014 10:55 p.m. MDT

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metamora, IL

College athletes are compensated. The largest percentage of them receive scholarships.

Somewhere in Colorado, CO

College sports abuse the heck out of athletes.

And spreading the wealth to welfare sports...?

Let the colleges recruit, let the athletes compete for highest compensation.

Girls golf? Welfare sport. Get rid of it. It forces the male football player to get hit to earn the money so she can play golf...

Title 9 was a stupid law. It forced schools to cut popular boy sports, in the name of feel-good wealth spreading...

Allow colleges to pay athletes. Allow athletes to get paid. Let the market sort it out. Most colleges would go to a intramural program where more "student-athletes" could have chances to play....

Lets not kid ourselves... There is money to be made in collegiate athletics. Just not the guy getting hit. Everyone else is getting wealthy but the kid getting hit. The girl playing golf with no one watching is getting the same scholarship money as the kid getting hit on live TV with millions watching and millions of dollars in advertising...

College athletics is a scam. The kids getting hit are getting scammed...

Las Vegas Aggie
Logan, Utah

I just can't wait until Tiltle IX kicks in!!!!

Cottonwood, CA

Sure. Take ca way their scholarships pay them ten bucks an hour and see how that works out vs. a scholarship. Keep it the way it is but let them get jobs in the sinner.

The Rock
Federal Way, WA

"Still, the obvious question that persists is whether or not it’s fair, or even ethical, for universities to make millions of dollars off of collegiate athletics while the student-athletes receive only a free education."

Not True: Many college athletes do not receive an eduction. That's because an education is the only thing that people are willing to pay for and not get.

I get the point being made.

If college athletes were to go on strike for two weeks the NCAA would be screaming. Many of the student athletes could get academic scholarships or grants. These guys are truly not being compensated for their skills.

If this was done in any other venue they would call it slavery.

JoCo Ute
Grants Pass, OR

News Flash for Amy; College Athletics are not big business. Outside of men's basketball, football and a very few women's sports college athletics is a losing business. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that between 2005 and 2009 only seven institutions broke even or made a profit. Not even Duke or Kansas could make enough money to cover the costs of college athletics. You are propagating a myth by repeating inaccurate information. Women's Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Tennis, Swimming, Track would all be gone if money was diverted to pay football or basketball players. Should college athletics have the full cost of attending college covered by a scholarship, maybe. But if the full cost is covered for football and basketball it should be covered for all sports. We do not need a class system in college sports, especially one that would kill the gains made by Title 9.

Salem, UT

Haha Slavery? I wouldn't go to that extreme, considering most if not all of the student athletes play the sports they play because try LOVE THE GAME. Ha I'm not to sure that they are all being forced to play. They play because they want to, and the schools grant them scholarships to pay for their time spent at their respective schools. College athletics aren't all about getting to the Professional level. There are many athletes that will never make the pro's that I'm sure are extremely grateful for the scholarship money that is paying for the education they are receiving. Something that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

A better idea would be to drop ALL college athletics, and cut tuition and fees at colleges by 50%, which can be done after eliminating the astronomical expenses for big stadiums, coaching salaries many times that of any professor, and all the special perks and scholarships lavished on athletes who often do not graduate and whose educations are suspect even if they do graduate.

If we want to watch paid athletes, let them become professionals. If the professional leagues need "farm teams" let them start their own, not sucker colleges into doing it for them.

The adulation and attention wasted on athletes is simply astonishing, as they provide no real benefit other than entertainment, albeit in an often brutal game.

This whole stupid "compensating athletes as employees" scam started in Chicago, and we all know how other Chicago ideas have worked out.

Two For Flinching
Salt Lake City, UT

"while the student-athletes receive only a free education."

.....and free food, and clothing, and housing, and free health care by the way of athletic trainers and orthopedic doctors. Many athletes also receive quite a bit of per diem money as well when they travel to away games.

Tooele, UT

I agree college athletes should be better compensated, but when I hear words thrown around like "player's union" or "agents for college athletes" I'm deeply concerned.

I can't help but wonder if, with a player's union for college athletes, we're going to see a strike and/or lockout every six or seven years like in the NBA, NHL or NFL.

Some people my not like Title IX, and to be honest there are aspects of it I disagree with, but so far every court in the country has upheld Title IX as it is written, so if you pay the guys, you MUST pay the girls too. This whole argument that football and basketball are different is simply not going to wash.

Another thing that concerns me is, if you have an 18 or 19-year old college athlete getting even a fraction of what pro athletes get paid, all sorts of people come out of the word work wanting to enrich themselves at the player's expense.

Watch the ESPN documentary "Broke" to understand what I'm talking about. It is an eye opener for sure.

Queen Creek, AZ

Let's not fool ourselves into believing athletes are not being compensated quite handsomely. The value of their scholarships can exceed $200,000. Most non-athletes wind up graduating with tens of thousands of dollars in debt, some people well into six figures. That debt can haunt people for decades. Student athletes have the ability to graduate free from all that debt. Even the Northwestern athletes argued, successfully, that they are already compensated to the tune of over $60,000 annually (have fun with the taxes). Let's also not confuse Billions in revenue with Billions in profits. A 2012 study showed that of the 228 public institutions that sponsored Division 1 athletics, only 23 were self sustaining; the rest required public subsidies. Collegiate athletics are a money losing proposition 90% of the time. So now in addition to tens of thousands of dollars in annual compensation, 90% of which requires the contribution of taxpayer money, sports writers are now proposing to dig deeper into the tax payers pocket to pay the athletes even more?! Lastly let's not pretend athletes are the only hard working students on campus. Many students work as hard, if not harder than many student athletes (...numerous academic scandals), and do not cost taxpayer millions.

Danbury, CT

We're missing the point if we think money is the greatest reward here. These kids are in school to get an education. Kids like Jabari Parker and others who leave early miss the whole reason for going to school and they need that education to help them know how to manage their money and make decisions. They don't even know what questions to ask their agents or accountants.

What about kids that are interns that work for free or nearly free for companies that could benefit greatly from their work? Why would we think that athletes are alone in deserving to be compensated?


Amy, I respectfully disagree. I have thought about this for a long time and I see both sides of the issue but paying athletes will just open a huge can of worms.

First, you mention basketball and football players - the two programs that bring the the bulk of the revenue. So, when you pay those athletes, what about the others? What about the swim team? The track and field teams? The hockey teams? Etc., etc., etc.?

Second, most schools have a very narrow margin in their athletic department budget and there are many schools that run in the red. So, if you pay the athletes, these schools will have to pull the money from other departments which will lower the value of those departments.

Third, I agree with Steve Smith. I think the NCAA needs to look at a better option so athletes can work and earn money while in school (within limits). A music major can work, a history major can work, even a computer science major can work so why not an athlete?

These young men and women are students at the university, not employees. They are there to get an education, not make money.

Archer of Paradise
Oklahoma City, OK

What of the students that make millions for universities through their research? Should they compensated? I'm not saying student athletes are treated well but if you want to increase the disparity between top echelon programs and up-and-coming, paying the athletes is a great idea.

A few considerations, some of which have already been made:

1) Who're you going to pay the tennis team, the swimmers, divers, etc.? Do you believe only the profitable athletes should be paid? Then plan on only paying football and men's basketball.

2) I could be the best engineering student in the country but recruiters aren't going to hear about me on CBS, ABC, NBC, ESPN, etc. That's pretty good compensation for athletes.

3) Free tuition and housing oft times. Free access to facilities, gear, world-class coaches, administrators, etc. I couldn't get anyone to pay for my books let alone get free access to my college professors.

There are still other considerations. If you could appease me on these three, I'd be in favor. Good luck!

metamora, IL

DN Subscriber said: "This whole stupid "compensating athletes as employees" scam started in Chicago, and we all know how other Chicago ideas have worked out."

Amen, my friend. I am so tired of "politics as usual" in Illinois driven by the corruption and malfeasance of our public officials -- especially those from Chicago.

The very idea that these athletes "deserve" compensation is yet again a manifestation of our entitlement society.

Springville, UT

I walked away from athletic scholarships because I knew the sacrifice of my education would result. The notion of scholar-athlete is a joke for Division I, especially in football and basketball. Reforms need to be made, and the unionization vote is symptomatic of this. Athletes are expoited and too often tossed away. At minimum, any athlete who plays, should have a non-expiring scholarship until the point of graduation. Right now, once eligibility is used up, they are cut off. College athletics is big, big business, driven with cheap labor. All of you who love the football season and bowls, or pack the arenas for big time basketball, watch on TV and fill out brackets, would you be so fanatic if we returned to true student-athlete status? No way, the spectacle and entertainment is too big a deal. Spare me the arguments that athletes are taken care of by the system. They aren't. It's a sad state of affairs.

San Antonia, TX

Great don't pay an college athlete! Fine. It doesn't really matter.

But take the handcuffs off of the athletes as well. geez! They can't even have a job while they are on scholarship except during the summer and over Christmas break.

I was broke, and on Scholarship, I tried selling t-shirts and was reported to the athletic director. I made like $200 extra cash and they about yanked my scholarship. I couldn't even afford to fill my car with gas. The scholarship barely paid for my rent and food. Nothing else.

Also, to say athletes can't get paid in order to keep their amateur status is silly. Look at the stats. There is like a 1% chance to make it to the pros. It is criminal to continue perpetuating that fraud.

The whole system is designed to make money for the school. There is a benefit to having a scholarship, but the rules regulating athletes are insane.

Colleges need to stop manipulating the athletes and pretending it is for their own good.

There is for sure a better way to handle this. Let's find it.

Sandy, UT

Lets see, I kid who works in an engineering lab gets $9/hr. A football player at Northwestern gets $40,000 tuition, $12,000 room and board, tutors and a lot of free gear. We we could just convince the engineering student to work 6,000 hrs per year all would be equal.

Indianapolis, IN

I feel so bad for these athletes :(
They're FORCED to go to a university and have access to the top educational resources and opportunities in the world. They are FORCED to have tutors and mentors who help them through the difficult classes. They're FORCED to endure the praise and accolades of their fellow students. And on top of that, they have to go live out their dream on national TV.
College football is a business. Everyone knows that. But guess what, academic departments are businesses too.
I will never understand the idea of pitying these guys who get to do what the rest of us would sacrifice our right eye to experience.

Farmington, UT

So a "free education" is worthless? Maybe you ought to ask all the students that are tens-of-thousands of dollars in debt about the worth of a "free education."

Athletes live a different standard with respect to behavior, grooming, grade inflation, etc, all because they have a physical body that allows them to be good at a certain sport over those who aren't. Athletics is just entertainment, so are you going to start to pay those who are in the dramatic arts for their contributions to the theater or the visual arts to the museum?

Like everything connected to athletics in college, these proposals are based upon "me," selfishness, and greed in an out-of-control worship of egos.

The NBA, MLB and other professional sports have ruined amateur athletics in yet another regard.

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