By Dr. Bret Simmermacher
Contributor, Sport and Fitness Network
There is a huge push across the country to pay college athletes. In my humble opinion I think this would open a huge can of worms and eliminate many of the non revenue sports on college campuses today. There are only about 12-15 universities across the country that operate in the black when it comes to financing a college athletic program. Unless a college/university has a football and basketball program that has success, year-in and year-out, they typically operate in the red. The revenue from these two programs typically funds the other non revenue sports.
Colleges and Universities were established for academics, not athletics. Without the academic part of the equation players would not have a reason to attend a college or university. All athletes would love to play their respective sport professionally or represent our country in the Olympics. However, the percentages are not in the athlete’s favor. With that being said, I would think the athletic scholarship that pays for their tuition, fees, books, room and board would be sufficient payment for playing a sport.
I know as a former Division I athlete, coming from a family without unlimited financial resources, I did everything I could to get my education paid for by doing what it takes academically. I was fortunate enough to sign a professional contract in my sport as well, but that lasted all of one season. Thank God I had my education to fall back on to help support my family that I had already started. The answer is not paying athletes; the answer is teaching athletes what is important in life – getting an education!