Student-athletes are some of the hardest working individuals on college campuses. In some cases, athletes are up before dawn to attend early morning weight training and practices. After practice, they are expected to attend a full day of classes, before repeating the schedule the following day.
Without a doubt, college athletes are living demanding lives. Though some student-athletes argue they are able to live out their dreams by playing a sport at the next level and profiting from the notoriety that they might gain from their sport, some are left wondering whether student-athletes should receive more benefits, aside from tuition and stipends.
Recently, the NCAA has been evaluating whether the stipends are sufficient considering the current climate for college athletes. Currently, the monthly stipend for college athletes is $2,000. For athletes in metropolitan areas like USC, not much is left from the stipend once rent and expenses are paid. Because of this discrepancy, many athletes have demanded a change in the current system because of its flaws. For the current system to be truly functional, drastic changes need to be made.
Some advocates have suggested that student-athletes should be paid for their athletic endeavors by their universities. But this proposal has been immediately shot down becuase paying college-level athletes violates the concept of “amateurism” in college athletics. Another immediate criticism stems from the fact that at certain universities, some sports are more prosperous than others. The revenue gained from country-wide (and even worldwide) popular sports like football or basketball is often used to fund other sports on the campus.
Other proposals to fix the stipend issue have suggested following a system similar to the Olympics. Student-athletes would be able to benefit from being sponsored from interested companies supplementing tuition and monthly stipends. Athletes would be able to benefit from his or her athletic achievements, granting them ease of mind and ease of their wallets while they are in school.
Ideally, this is the best scenario. Athletes from all areas of the sports spectrum would be able to benefit from this advantageous change. The athletes would be able to focus on their sport and most importantly — education.
Though it might take years before a full reform is implemented, change needs to occur immediately. To greatly impact and alleviate the issue, the NCAA should change the monthly stipend to accommodate the variance in the cost of living among college towns. The stipend needs to be adapted to the location of the university. This instant fix will ease the flaws in the current system.
Yes, many will object to the notion of providing student-athletes with more than the stipend or reformed stipend system. Do not be quick to forget that it is the athletes who are generating the revenue for his or her university. In today’s system, not one college athlete receives a single dollar from sale of merchandise that possesses his or her image. Shouldn’t they receive some type of incentive because it is the athletes who are driving the consumers in purchasing the product?
Most importantly, is it truly fair to not give credit where it is due? After all, it is student-athletes like Kendall Bateman, Christina Marinacci, Maurice Jones and Matt Barkley that keep the Trojan tradition alive and prevalent in USC and collegiate athletics.
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