With the changing economy and the rise in tuition, more student athletes say they believe they should get paid to play sports in college. However, NCAA President Mark Emmert said no way!
The NCAA President came to downtown Los Angeles to address a large audience on the issue of paying student athletes. He said that college students should not be paid to play sports.
"They're not professionals," Emmert said. "They are getting ready for whatever their profession is. They are pre-professionals... just like every other student on campus."
This issue is quite iconic considering the NCAA recently sanctioned several schools, including the University of Southern California, within the past few years for students who received "improper benefits."
Emmert said college is such a great opportunity for students. He said students should be grateful for the opportunity to receive a great education: "There are very few students who actually have the chance to enjoy it [a college education]. And when they take full advantage of it, it brings amazing opportunities."
When asked by several audience members about any of the 440,000 NCAA students to get sanctioned for taking improper benefits, Emmert said he doesn't buy any excuse.
"To say, you, NCAA put me in the position to break the rules... I have a hard time believing that," he said.
There were also audience members who agreed with Emmert's speech, including Senior USC Administrator Todd Dickey.
Dickey said he's against paying USC athletes: "That is against the amateurism rules of the NCAA. We don't want to run professional sports in college."
Yet, the real issue seems not necessarily about running "professional" sports in college, but how the players are treated.
USC senior Daniel Harper plays on the football and says players' financial struggles are a lot more difficult than many people know.
"There are a lot of kids that need it," Harper said. "Seeing the situation with kids that get into trouble with NCAA... I mean it's usually underprivileged kids that really don't have enough."
Additionally, Harper said the amount of money given in the stipends is not enough: "People... talk about them like they're kids, but these are grown men. A lot of them have children of their own."
In fact, it is not just the money part that plays a role; Harper said athletes are under enormous amounts of pressure when they go off to school.
Granted, the lifestyle and attention can cause some students to be jealous or admire the players. However, Harper said there is a lot more to it when it comes to just adapting to that normal college experience.
"All of a sudden you aren't just a normal person," Harper said. "It is like you're constantly being watched and checked on."
Although it may be hard for some to show empathy for Harper and other athletes, he brings up a valid point that should definitely be taken into consideration.
I guess it just depends on what you choose. Students know they are placing themselves out there, but I guess they and other people never know what the costs of a situation are until they are already in way too deep.
Hopefully, the NCAA will take the changing economy and the situation of being a collegiate athlete into consideration regarding their current rules.