Student-athletes debate about pay at college level

Athletic scholarships not cutting it for some students

By Elohino Theodore, Sports Writer

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According to bleacherreport.com writer Dan Levy, there was a time in college sports when scholarships meant a lot.

Levy states that a free or a discounted education with room and board is not enough for some student-athletes. Some student-athletes want more compensation for their performance in competitions. According to Levy, most college athletes get preferential class enrollment, free shoes and sports apparel, and doctors and trainers who are on staff.

Levy also goes on to give another point-of-view of student-athletes getting handed the same scholarship or grant for four years, while the NCAA continues to make billions upon billions of dollars a year.

EWU Director of Athletics Bill Chaves thinks college athletes get a fair break. “I generally hear folks sometimes say, ‘Student-athletes should get paid.’ I often pause and say, ‘Not having potentially any debt when you leave school. I’m wondering is that not getting paid?” Chaves said.

Chaves said there are way too many factors that go into a college athlete getting compensated for their performance. “It might be easy to say ‘Pay the student-athletes,’ my question is how are you going to do that?”

“How are you going to look at various sports? How are you going to look at the quarterback, versus someone on another team that may or may not be a starter?” Chaves said.

Chaves has heard some ideas floating around on paying college athletes. “I’ve heard some other ways to potentially do it, and I think the most probably logical one is to take that full-time aid and then also add on what’s called cost of attendance,” Chaves said.

Not only does Chaves think that is the most logical model, but he is also quick to point out that it still does not address the students on partial aid or without financial aid at all.

The media has also brought this topic out on the table numerous times on television and in newspapers and magazines for debate. In an article by Nancy Armour for the Associated Press, she gives the example of Johnny Manziel being cleared to play football again after he was accused of receiving money for signing autographs. After that, Time Magazine put Manziel on their cover with the headline “It’s Time to pay College Athletes.”

According to Armour’s article, “The NCAA is also facing an antitrust lawsuit from former players who believe they’re owed millions of dollars in compensation.”

Armour quotes NCAA president Mark Emmert when he explains that there is a tension going on between collegiate and commercial. Emmert explains that this tension has grown because of the amount of money schools make from athletics.

According to Chaves, he also says that him and his peers look at the idea of student athletes becoming paid employees is something that does not seem possible. “My counterparts, 350 others that are around the country, have all indicated that the model of giving someone a compensation, a check outside the realm of their grant and aid, that’s not something that folks are interested [in] on this platform,” Chaves said.

Chaves believes that the current system that student athletes have works well. “I would probably suggest to you, for 99 percent of the student-athletes across the nation, this system seems to be working,” Chaves said. “There seems to be probably a 1 percent that is making some headlines right now.”

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