By IRINI BROM – CENTO WRITER
A half-game suspension—that was Johnny Manziel’s punishment for signing autographs that might possibly be sold for large amounts of money by a third party participant for which there was no proof that he would receive any payment.
This has led sports casters, coaches and even players to voice their opinions on the question of the hour: should college athletes be paid or should there be consequences for accepting payment for their skills?
ESPN commentator Jay Bilas believes that the answer to this question is easily answered—athletes should not be denied compensation.
Bilas elaborates further on this opinion in his article for the New York Times “Players Should Be Compensated.”
“It is not immoral for the NCAA to make money off of athletics. But it is profoundly immoral for the NCAA to restrict athletes from receiving compensation while everyone else profits,” Bilas said.
He goes on to say that it is not his opinion that the athletes should be paid by the colleges they attend, but rather that the barriers to compensation should be removed.
However, upon speaking to our very own football coach, Andy Frye, some very good points were brought up regarding this very grey question.
“D1 athletes are receiving something invaluable from their schools,” Coach Frye said. “They are receiving a free education—and that is priceless.” Coach Frye also mentioned that if a player qualifies, they are still entitled to government help such as the Pell Grant as well as a housing allowance from the school.
“Now, there is no question that these student athletes are being exploited—the university is making money off of them and they see none of it, and I honestly have no solution for that, but, I’ll say again, the free education that these athletes are receiving is essential,” Frye said.
What about Centre athletes? They receive none of the housing stipends or free education that Division I athletes receive and yet they are putting in over 16 hours a week for the game.
“The people who choose to play athletics at Centre choose to play solely because they love to play. D1 athletes are almost like mercenaries, they are paid (in scholarships) to play and that is their ‘job,’” Coach Frye said.
“When I was a coach at Ohio University, I had some men whose hearts were just not in the game. They looked at sports as their job and they had to play to keep their scholarship.
At Centre, the athletes here play because they love to compete. Not having that scholarship hang over their heads actually adds to the experience.”
Junior Steven Fortner, an offensive lineman here at Centre, has a very similar opinion to his coach on the matter.
“Student athletes receive free tuition
from scholarships at the Division I level and partially at the Division II level. I believe that a free education is enough payment for any student athlete in most cases,” Fortner said.
Fortner also gave his opinion on not receiving compensation from Centre.
“I don’t have a problem with not being compensated monetarily. Receiving extra money for being a college student athlete would definitely have its upsides, but players that are truly worthy of getting paid to play are playing at a professional level.”
Former player for the Boston Celtics and current assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns Jerry Sichting gave a statement regarding his opinion on this matter.
“I believe that D1 players should be paid. [The sports business] has obviously become lucrative for the coaches, the Athletic Directors and the NCAA itself.
The revenue-producing sports of men’s basketball and football should certainly be receiving a slice of the pie that’s grown exponentially in recent years,” Sichting said.
There are enticing arguments for both sides of the coin toss here, but even with this question jumping into the spotlight and receiving a lot of attention after the incident with “Johnny Football.”
The NCAA has recently released statements that it does not plan on changing its stance on the matter and will not pay any of it’s players in the foreseeable future—fair or not.