College sports is an opportunity, not a job


The Appalachian Online

Jason Huber

Recent allegations of signing autographs for money have caused Georgia running back Todd Gurley to be suspended indefinitely by the NCAA. Signing memorabilia is against the rules in the NCAA and if the school finds out an athlete received impermissible benefits, the school is supposed to self-police.

The NCAA gave Gurley a harsh punishment for his actions, as they should have for breaking the rules, but this reopens the discussion of whether or not college athletes should be paid for their efforts in their respective sports.

The term “student-athlete” is key to answering the question about collegiate athletes being paid. Student comes before the word athlete and it should stay this way.

Some players are already receiving scholarships from their universities and colleges correlating to athletic talent, which determines how much money they receive. There is no need to reward college players with more money.

Student-athletes chose to participate in intercollegiate athletics as part of their educational experience and should maintain a balance between the two.

NCAA President Mark Emmert recently said if student-athletes started to be paid in addition to the scholarships they already have received, it would ruin the NCAA.

“These individuals are not professionals,” Emmert said in a federal court meeting in Oakland, California. “People come to watch sports because it’s college sports with college athletes.”

People come to watch college sports because there is a sense of mutual respect and competition in play. College players play as hard as they can with the desire to win for their schools.

There are arguments that professional athletes don’t play as hard because they are paid millions of dollars. Some people choose to watch college sports over their professional counterparts because the players seem to give more effort.

Players receive scholarships, but they still have to work hard in classes to make a living if they do not pursue a professional athletic.

“We want to make sure they get degrees, and that they really have the education that sets them up for life,” Emmert said in an interview with NBC.

Having an athlete come to a school and play a sport while being paid on the side doesn’t prove they really want to be there. If an athlete really wants to be at a school and play sports, they should be a student first.

Colleges provide athletes with coaching, medical care and educational tools. Participating in college sports is a privilege and a choice. Most college athletes seem to play for the love of the game, and paying the athletes would turn it into a job, which would have a negative effect on the integrity of the sports.

Student athletes get four years to enjoy playing their sport as an opportunity to grow as competitors and people without worry about receiving benefits, and that’s the way it should stay.

Column: Jason Huber, Intern Sports Reporter