In the War Room with Warfel: Should college athletes be paid?

By Adam Warfel, Sports Editor

This past Monday, the state of California passed the Fair Pay to Play act, which will allow college athletes to hire an agent and to be paid for any endorsements they do.

The legislation goes past the NCAA’s rules on allowing players to receive any form of compensation aside from scholarships.

Shortly after California passed their act, Democratic Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch of Hillside sponsored a bill that would allow Illinois college athletes the same benefits.

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(See more: Illinois representative proposes bill to allow student athlete compensation)

I have never been a college athlete myself, so I have never been in the position of seeing my likeness plastered with the school I go to and the school getting money off of it.

However, I do not think college athletes deserve to get paid because they are already receiving a free education from the school.

For athletes who come and play college basketball for one year and then leave to play in the NBA because there is more money there, that is their decision to make.

In a sense, though, by paying college athletes, are we not devaluing the value of education?

The average college athlete, even if they do make it to a professional league to play their sport, rarely becomes the superstar of their said league.

In the NBA draft alone, there are 30 players selected in the first round every year, and out of those 30 you can find rankings online from five that are likely to be busts.

One of the biggest reasons I enjoy watching mid-major college basketball is seeing those seniors from some school most people have never heard of going up against the Zion Williamsons of college basketball.

But these athletes choose to come to these schools knowing full well that they help to bring revenue to their school.

Looking at it, if you as an athlete are struggling to pay your bills from month to month, in that case I would understand wanting a little extra money.

I do not see the issue as schools using their players’ abilities to bring in income but rather an issue of education versus money.

College athletes could have the opportunity to make several thousand dollars in endorsements but is that more valuable in life than a bachelor’s degree?

In the NFL, the average career length is just over three years; you think those players wish they had an education?

I do not see education as a dollar sign; there is so much more you learn as an individual in the four years or more that you are at college.

If you ever watch an NBA game or any professional sport, the youngest players in the league, while they may be incredible talent-wise, they still have to learn.

Why not choose to stay those four years at the school that recruited you, the coach that believed in you and grow not just as a player but as an individual.

The NCAA has an interesting decision on their hands after California passed this act, and Illinois is not the only state looking to possibly follow suit.

Pennsylvania lawmakers are also pushing to pass this bill in their own state.

Although California’s bill does not go into effect until 2023, the NCAA must make a decision quickly or they might soon see whole parts of the country where this bill has passed.

There will be no simple solution to this problem for the NCAA; most student athletes, especially those at the Division I level, already receive monthly stipends.

To say there is no easy solution to this question is true because there are strong points on both sides of the argument.

Adam Warfel, Sports Editor, can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @warfel_adam.

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