By Aaron M. Smith
Student A: This student was no Einstein in high school. He worked hard, however, earning a 3.5 GPA during the course of his high school years. He played basketball, but not very well. He once earned a state science fair award for cloning alfalfa (yet to this day cannot describe how he did it). He was a member of the National Honor Society. He was never arrested and only had one beer while in high school. He went to the principal's office twice in his four years of high school -- once for depancing his friend in gym class and once to receive information on being named Student of the Month (not the same month as the prior incident). He graduated in the top 5 percent of his class. He went to an instate university with $0 scholarship money and a good work ethic. He worked three jobs every year to make ends meet. He earned a degree and graduated with a mountain of debt and a job that paid just $20,000 a year.
Student B: This student came from a poor family. No one in his family had ever gone to college. His dad wasn't around and only sometimes sent checks. His mom wanted him to work at a construction company with his uncle even though he'd rather teach and coach football. His GPA during high school was 2.5. His high school counselor told him college prep wasn't for him; he knew he wouldn't be able to afford college anyway. He played football successfully, but not well enough for colleges to come calling. He once was suspended for drinking beer on school property. He worked during that week off and made enough money to go on spring break. He graduated in the top half of his class. He did not attend college, but earned a decent living working for his uncle in the construction business. He still lives at home and hates his job, wishing he could have gone to college.
|Reggie Bush surely struggled to get by at USC.|
Now, one of those students is suing the NCAA while his handlers are crying foul because he wasn't allowed to earn money as a college student. Never mind the new condo his parents were given by a school booster. This student claimed that he was "like a slave" because he didn't get paid for the work he did while in college. He calls himself a poor college student. He talks of struggling to get by.
I am Student A, and I find that appalling.
Student C received a scholarship that totaled more than $100,000. He "earned" that by not doing any homework. He "earned" that by disrespecting the law. He "earned" that by convincing teachers to let him slide by. Some may call me bitter. Some may call me jealous. That's fine. I really don't care. All I'm saying is that for someone to get free tuition to a stellar university, a free place to live, and free food all the while complaining because he feels like a "slave" or that he "is being used" is utterly ridiculous, not to mention offensive. No you should not be paid; you are already getting free education (which apparently you are not using -- look up slavery and maybe you'll change your tune).
No you should not be paid; you are already getting free tattoos, or $100 handshakes from obsessive boosters, or a different sports car every new season. I drove an old Dodge Neon that broke down often. I had to pick up a third job bagging groceries at Kroger just to make enough money to get it fixed so that I could work at my other two jobs. No, I didn't have to walk uphill both ways to work, but you get the point ... hopefully.
And now I have to listen to Student C complain about how he had to scrape by? Please. Don't waste my time. Some people, like Student B, cannot even afford college. The way tuition is rising, even those who want to go will have to settle for something they do not really want to do. College is a pipe dream for some -- not because they can't hack it, but rather the amount of money it takes to go anymore is unbelievably high. And far too many students who made it to college through hard work are still paying off their college debts 10 years later. College isn't free (for most), so when I hear people calling themselves slaves while shrugging off the six figures they are receiving for going to college, I tend to get a little annoyed.
Now, not all college athletes are like Student C. Many work extremely hard in the classroom and earn their degrees while excelling on the court or field. Those students are admirable and will go on to be successful whether in sports or in something else. But that doesn't change my view on the hot topic of whether or not collegiate athletes should be paid -- because they already are getting paid.
It's called a scholarship.