California bill stirs up college athletics
Last month, the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, signed a bill allowing college student-athletes to be compensated for their name and image.
Paying student-athletes has been a pressing issue in American sports for decades now. With some athletes like Reggie Bush of the University of Southern California, Cam Newton of Auburn University and Marcell Dareus of the University of Alabama accepting improper benefits, how do we stop these scandals from occurring? The solution is quite simple, you pay the college athletes like a university student-worker.
Some college athletes are on a full scholarship, but not all receive this benefit. That is probably the biggest misconception with college athletes. For the sake of this article I will only be referring to division-one sports, not division-two, division-three, not the NAIA or Junior College sports. On average, the typical division I FBS university receives 85 scholarships per year for their football program, and the average number of players on a DI FBS team is 118 players. That is 33 student-athletes who do not receive benefits, and have to pay for school in full and do not have enough time to have a part-time job.
I am not saying pay student-athletes an absurd amount. I am saying pay them accordingly. Paying all athletes, not just football players, the minimum wage for their name and image is not a bad idea. Pay the student-athletes for 25 hours a week for their services and both the player and the university stay happy. I understand that some universities will not be able to compensate every single player, but one possible solution can be finding more donors for the university.
The reason this has been such a disputed topic is that those who are not given full-ride scholarships to college think that student-athletes already have it made. They do not understand what each individual athlete has to go through, summer and winter workouts, maintaining a GPA requirement, waking up early every day and staying up late for practice are just some of the few things. Being a student-athlete is a full-time job packed on top of school.
Another reason why I believe people are against paying student-athletes is because of the ridiculous claim that the university is making money off the sport, not the name. If that was true, why are universities promoting student-athletes for ticket sales on all of their social media? Have you ever seen or heard of a celebrity not getting paid to film a commercial? No, you probably have not because no one wants to work or be promoting something for free. No one should have to work for free, not a regular student, nor a student-athlete.
One may ask “Why would you pay a football player the same rate as a water polo player?” Well, this would establish that all student-athletes are equal regardless of the sport. I understand that an SEC football game will attract a larger crowd than an SEC golf tournament, but you can not pay the athletes based on their rankings. If universities and players agree to pay the student-athletes, then there would ultimately have to be a mutual agreement to pay all athletes the same.
Just like any other job or career, I believe student-athletes should also have promotions. Possible promotions can be if a student-athlete makes the honor roll, they are eligible for a raise, or if the student-athlete starts all four years. They are also eligible for a raise. Along with making the honor roll and starting all four years, other promotions can include being selected a captain for the sport, breaking school records and being named conference or division most valuable player. Just like any other occupation, the job rewards those who excel inside and outside of work.
I can almost certainly guarantee that if universities start paying their student-athletes, then there will be fewer scandals and fewer student-athletes getting in trouble. Starting off all athletes at the same wage will assert that no one is more valuable than the rest. I agree with Newsom in thinking that his passed bill changed the landscape of college athletics.