Rick Morrissey’s Piece “Time to pay college athletes” Shortsighted

As we sit on the cusp of another college football season, and all the likely scandals that tend to follow, we find Rick Morrissey bringing back the idea of paying college athletes above their scholarship, implying that it is long overdue. And as the discrepancy between the enormous $$$$’s some colleges are pulling in compared to the financial support athletes receive (the ones doing the work) grows ever larger, we would expect this conversation to continue. Especially in a society where, sadly, success is measured more by the money one makes, or has, and much less by the positive deeds and/or examples they set for others.

In contemplating the meaning and consequence of such a proposal, I cannot help but think of all the different nuances and questions it would bring to the table. I mean does Morrissey really believe his own statement “we wouldn’t be reading so often about coaches cheating, boosters paying for prostitutes for athletes and players being arrested for stealing TVs” if college athletes were paid?

So moving from a position of not paying college athletes beyond scholarship to one where athletes are paid to play would diminish this? He can’t see the further corruption this could easily bring to the mix. Oh sure let’s turn college sports into a real job by paying them (like there aren’t any complaints about that already). This would certainly increase the probability of athletes playing for the sheer love of the game.

And talk about exploitation.

Bringing actual financial incentives, in the form of payment, to the high school (and earlier) recruiting table wouldn’t cause any exploitive type issues, hidden money under the table, or other unethical promises and poor character type behavior to an already difficult and, at times, shady process, right?

And what about the question of who would get paid?

Most realize that college football and men’s basketball are the big moneymakers in college sports. They are the ones that bring in the big dollars to colleges and universities. Should they be the only athletes who are paid? What about the other male and female athletes in other sports who work just as hard and put in just as many hours? Shouldn’t they receive a salary even though their sports don’t have near as much media attention nor attract the financial windfall of football and basketball? How would all this be worked out…fairly? Would there be enough money to go around for all? And is it really in the best interest of the athletes? Of college sports?

Just bouncing around a couple of things off the top of my head, I’m sure there is more if we peered deeper into the paying college athletes dilemma.

Personally, I think it best we start pushing the pendulum back the other way by finding ways to increase intrinsic reasons for playing sports rather than extrinsic ones, not increase the momentum of its current direction. The type of direction that seems to be fostering more self-centered "what's in it for me” type attitudes that too many of our current college athletes seem to demonstrate.

Sorry, Rick, can’t support you on this one, at least not for the reasons you gave.

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