You’ve heard the question asked before, but most college sports fans have given no thought to the question: Should student- athletes receive compensation for participating in division one athletics? Below you will find the show that I produced for my television studio class this semester in which this debate was the central debate of the segment.
The guests on the show are student-athletes at Boston College and the views they expressed were solely for the sake of my show, but I believe the question should be once again asked.
This past January the verdict was decided; BC would not be paying their players. This argument is generally approached through the lens of all NCAA schools as a whole, but each school should be zoom into and be examined individually.
I am not here to influence your thoughts on the subject, but rather help you form a more well-rounded opinion.
Out of the 80 schools that voted at the NCAA’s convention earlier this year, Boston College was the sole contrarian in attendance. The vote decided that the athletic scholarships of the universities in attendance would not only cover the traditional room, board and book costs but would also include additional monetary support for these student-athletes.
There are various reason why one could see Boston College’s decision as wrong or right, but there are a few points that need to be accounted for in order to be an informed decision maker.
Amateur: (noun) is derived from the latin words “amātor” or “amare” which mean “lover” or “to love”. Blah, blah, you don’t care, but here’s why you should. The NCAA defines amateurism as the “bedrock principle of college athletics” and its organization. Students play sports in high school mainly because they enjoy doing so and if they’re skilled enough they are given the opportunity to do so in college. When these 17 or 18-year- old students sign their contracts on signing day, they understand the terms of the agreement: They play, and the school will pay.. for their education. That is all. There is nothing wrong with this, but it can be argued that playing for a $65 thousand education already negates the argument of amateurism. In theory they are getting paid, but is it enough?
The “Andre Williams” factor: On the ACC online shop Andre Williams’ Boston College jersey is currently on sale for $124.95. The 2014 fourth round draft pick was chosen by the Giants due to his outstanding career at Boston College. Now two opinions can evolve from this fact. One. Boston College gave Williams a platform to become a great player (as an amateur of course), and thus make a career out of football. As a result, the ends justified him not getting paid during his collegiate years. On the other end of the spectrum, whether drafted or not, BC was able to make a profit off of their first Heisman candidate since Matt Ryan’s eligibility in 2007. Between the television appearances and the #Andre44Heisman campaign, the 2013 Doak Walker recipient gave BC football a lot of exposure and undoubtedly a big paycheck with it. As of June of 2014, the Jesuit university is worth 2.2 billion dollars, in addition to having over 90 scholarships dedicated solely to athletics. A devil’s advocate could argue that paying solely for Williams’ tuition cheated the running back out of what he was worth. Williams merely serves as a recent example, but this point appears to be the core of the debate. Universities make millions, if not billions off of their teams and individuals, while their players get ripped off. In return these athletes receive something 6% of the world has, a college degree.
Recruiting: Why do student- athletes commit to Boston College? Is it the fresh carpet of grass every season that brightens the beautiful Heights, or could it be simply the Power Five Conference categorization? It could also be the fact that we are currently ranked No. 31 according to the U.S. News and World Report, and some want to take advantage of a good education. There are many reasons why a student chooses one institution over another, but the real question is whether the failure to compensate these athletes will hurt the school’s options. Though we are a highly ranked academic school, there is no doubt that we want to be just as successful in the context of sports. Will a five start recruit choose Boston College over their “Holy War” rival, Notre Dame for example, simply because of a check?
These points are merely surface level to the argument, but brings us back to the bigger picture. Although college athletes may or may not want to be compensated there are many complex factors to a university, Boston College, deciding on whether their student-athletes will be taking a trip to the bank. This debate is a sloppy one and can hardly be anything more. Maybe I sparked your interest or maybe you still don’t care but every college sports fan should be aware of this issue. Now you have the chance to pick a side and just know this, Whatever position you choose is the right one.
Feel free to share below.
p.s. I think we should just pay them, but what do I know?