- Posted September 21, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
NCAA needs to make some Common Sense Reform
The NCAA has been under fire for the past several years for some of their ongoing policies when it comes to student athletes. Among them are rules that protect players, educating athletes on potential risks of playing a particular sport, eligibility of athletes, medical coverage, scholarships, and paying athletes to play.
This is particularly true in the full contact sport of football. College football is by far the biggest money maker for the NCAA and participating universities. Each university or conference that participates in the four BCS bowl games (Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, Orange) receives a payout of $18 million for that single game. The participants in the BCS National Championship game receive $22 million. Some of the BCS head coaches make salaries comparable to that of head coaches in the National Football League. No problem there. Like every other business competition drives salaries. If you want the best you have to pay for the best or someone else will.
Yet the athletes themselves are paid nothing. They only see any the money in the form of state of the art athletic facilities, stadiums and arenas. Players have never been paid to play and that is the way it should be. For them it is not a business. They are there for an education first and sport second. Or they should be. If they are not then they can consider their time in college level athletics as an apprenticeship until they make it, if they make it as a professional.
However there are some areas that the NCAA and universities should change. College athletes that sustain a permanent sports-related injury lose their student athlete scholarship. Many times college athletes also have to pay their own medical bills from these injuries. These are two things that should change. There is no way that universities should expect those student athletes who play for them to pay for their own medical expenses for injuries sustained while playing for them. Scholarships should also be given to these athletes with a little more good faith. That should they get injured permanently they do not lose their chance at their education that they also signed up for.
Now paying for medical expenses may not be as easy for Division II and Division III schools that make far less on their athletic programs. They do not make millions on home game sales and they do not get the multimillion dollar bowl payouts. So while we demand that universities cover the medical expenses for their athletes for sport-related injuries, we have to consider what these smaller schools are able to afford and that athletes themselves have to assume some of the risks of playing a full contact sport for a smaller school. But certainly they can allow those athletes that 99 out of 100 times are not professional prospects anyway to remain in college on scholarship.
Paying players will never, and should never happen. They are not professionals and are participating for the same reasons they were in high school, because they love it. Yes, those athletes may have dreams of making it to the professional level to get paid, but college is not the professional level.
Having said that the NCAA needs to understand the difference between special benefits, and just being a caring helpful human being. Arian Foster, now a running back for the Houston Texans has recently come out in a documentary admitting that he got paid some money and benefits while playing for the University of Tennessee. Being paid money is unacceptable, but one of the so-called benefits that he received once was a coach brought he and three others 50 tacos because they did not have money for food.
Technically, under NCAA more stringent interpretation of their rules that could be considered a violation. It should not be. If an individual coach, a human being, wants to help out some of their players, also human beings that should not be considered a student athlete having received a benefit. Would we consider a professor knowing about one of their students in distress and unable to buy food helping them by bringing them a meal as a benefit? Certainly not.
During this weekend's football games some athletes at some universities are wearing "APU" - All Players United - written in marker on their athletic tape in protest of NCAA treatment of athletes. While I do not agree with all their stated goals such as compensation for playing, I do agree with them that the NCAA needs to have some common sense reform on some of their policies.