It’s college basketball’s “March Madness” time again, and as we marvel and root for favorite teams and players, the conversation seems to come around like clockwork, on an annual basis “Should College Athletes Be Paid”?
I’ve spoke on this subject several times over the years, and as I was watching NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday morning talk show today, I noticed that a poll was shown (apparently taken by the Washington Post) that showed 33% of the general public is in favor of paying the college athletes, while 64% of the general public as opposed to paying the college athletes. I fall into that latter category, but I do think there are ways to be creative and come up with “deferred compensation plans” that are contingent and conditional upon the athletes obtaining their college degrees.
After all, isn’t that what the spirit of “collegiate athletics” is supposed to be about? That is, if were serious about having these young performers be “student/athletes”.
There was a recent CNN report earlier in the year, which showed a survey of the top 25 basketball/football powerhouse schools (Florida, Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, LSU, Texas, and several more), and in that survey, it reported that up to 30% of the so-called “student athletes” were reading at the 5th grade level. That’s absolutely incredible, astounding and totally unacceptable!
Something has to be done about that, and since most of the collegiate athletes, aren’t going to make it onto the pro levels, we need to start shifting our focus into making sure that these young athletes at least obtain their college degrees.
Take a look at this video clip from the NBC Meet the Press show from this morning, and then also, read through my op-ed that I wrote a couple years ago in regards to how we can become creative and further compensating the college athletes, without them becoming actual employees of the universities, and enhancing the odds that they will complete their college experiences and walk away with a degree in hand.