Student athletes should receive payment

Roberto Hodge, News Editor

Student athletes, let’s discuss… we have never had much of a formal conversation—in fact, I’d rather not even tackle the area of sports since it’s something that I’m not even passionate about.

However, there is one thing that we could agree on and it’s become a hot-button topic in the media.

I do believe student athletes should be paid.

Let’s take a moment and ignore the degrading stereotypes and stigmas against these men and women, set aside the amount of money states and school pour into athletic programs for a moment and really think about what these students do on a daily basis.

When you think about the amount of time, effort and energy these men and women spend in the field either for fun or because they want to get into national sporting areas it’s criminal not to pay them.

I’ve heard stories from athletes coming from other schools or know a few personally who work very hard every day in the sport they play and they earn no financial recognition.

Yes, there may be scholarships full-ride, partial or less, but what needs to happen is some sort of pay. College sports is a huge business, those who play on the field need to at least be paid minimum wage.

How is it that a student who works at the concession of a sporting event gets more money than the athlete who spends most of his day on the field practicing for an upcoming game, goes to class, works out and somehow finds time to do homework for class the next day?

Think about that.

Also, what about the risk these men and woman take on the field knowing that at any moment the stress put on their bones and limbs could injure them either severely or permanently result in a loss of scholarships, being kicked off their team or in worst cases possible death.

In 2014, there were 11 deaths related to a sports injury, according to a survey by the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury at the University of North Carolina.

Most recently, a high school football player from Texas died and there have been four more since September within the nation related to sports injuries.

Though those numbers lean toward high school, the risk is still very real at the collegiate level and these tragedies need to be addressed.

I don’t know if it’s something with coaches that needs to be said, conditioning and training or maybe even if the athletes need to learn not to push themselves so hard.

These men and women put their health and lives on the line for the sake of game and sport they care deeply for and they should be paid for their service.

While, I don’t think professional athletes should be paid more than medial doctors, police officers, firefighters and teachers, they should still be handsomely rewarded for their efforts.

Roberto Hodge is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]