Sports

Time to pay college athletes

Last weekend, Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter was one of many NCAA football players who sported "APU" on their wristbands during games. The letters stand for "All Players United," a movement campaigning for financial compensation for college athletes.

Their actions were sparked by a class action lawsuit filed against the NCAA and the Collegiate Licensing Company. Although the NCAA prohibits student-athletes from receiving payment for playing, the players' uniform numbers, likenesses and images are used on merchandise such as video games and jerseys. The lawsuit seeks to give players a cut of those profits.

The underlying question, one that has been hanging over the industry forever, is whether college athletes should be paid.

College sports is a billion-dollar industry. Endowments, donations, grants, ticket sales, merchandise sales, advertising, sponsorships and naming rights on athletic facilities are where it begins.

But the biggest chunk of change comes from the broadcast contracts.

While the top brass of the universities and conferences like to take the credit for the success of college sports, we all know it can't happen if the players don't show up. Sure, there may be a bunch of people in suits handling the paperwork, but the blood and sweat of the athletes is why people buy tickets and turn on their TVs.

The athletes drive the revenue, ratings and Internet traffic. Combined with the commitment and effort required from the players, there is every reason they should receive compensation.

I'm not saying give them million-dollar contracts and endorsement deals. But if the players maintain a suitable GPA, attend their classes, pass their classes, attend every practice, game and workout, volunteer and do everything their coaches ask, a monthly stipend is more than fair. With all the money being generated from games, the schools can afford to spread the wealth.

If players were to receive a little cash for their hard work, it might cut down on some of the transgressions—recruiting violations, under-the-table money from crooked boosters—that plague college sports.

It may not solve everything, but it would be a step in the right direction.

Gabe Salgado is a RedEye special contributor.

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye Sports' Facebook page

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • 'Great team effort' by joggers saves man in Lake Michigan

    'Great team effort' by joggers saves man in Lake Michigan

    During an early morning jog along Lake Michigan with his wife and children Tuesday, John Corba spotted a man struggling in the water nearly 30 yards from the shore.

  • Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    As a founding member of the Grateful Dead, Bill Kreutzmann watched the world change from behind his drum kit, shoveling coal in the wildly tribal rhythm section as the Dead went from San Francisco underground curio to ground-breaking indie outfit, then progenitor of the improvisation-based rock...

  • Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    The cliché that colors every good rock star story is “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll." For the Grateful Dead, the trailblazing rock band known for its improvisational style, revelatory live shows and dedicated fanbase, there was that and so much more.

  • 10 best movies of 2015 so far

    10 best movies of 2015 so far

    The year’s half over! How did that happen? No idea. With six months of a good year of movies in the books, let’s see how the Top 10 list is looking, with a quote from each respective review. Note: There are a few I’ve seen that I really like that haven’t yet opened in Chicago, and those aren’t...

  • If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    Nearly 5 million more Americans would qualify for overtime pay under new rules proposed Tuesday by the Obama administration, a long-anticipated move expected to affect a broad swath of salaried employees from store managers to social workers to restaurant shift supervisors.

  • Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Unlike previous summers, UniStaff is experiencing a spike in job applicants at its Little Village location, a trend the branch manager says is tied to the city's minimum wage increase to $10 per hour beginning Wednesday.

Comments
Loading