By Venisa Wang
College sports have gathered the support of millions of fans, yet between these games and cheers for favorite teams, another contest is taking place – the re-hashing of the debate over payment of college atheletes. It is high time for these athletes to receive the pay they have long been deprived of, for their efforts and dedication on the field.
While college athletes have their living accommodations and tuition covered, many aren’t aware that there are costs that colleges don’t cover. According to The Huffington Post, athletes spend close to 90 hours per week training for their season, and often only get out of practice after dining halls close.
Consequently, athletes have to get part-time jobs just to feed themselves. But aside from the basic need to clothe and feed themselves, colleges do not cover another necessity: the athletes’ safety.
Erin Knauer, a Colgate University athlete, piled up $80,000 in medical bills when she injured her legs during training due to intense strain on her thighs. Colgate refused to cover her hospital bills, even though the injuries had been sustained during practices held under the college’s watch. The absense of mandated coverage leaves many of college athletes uninsured.
Though college sports may just seem like fun and games, athletes are putting their lives and health on the line. Cal Schaefer, a college football player for the University of Maine, told the Portland Press Herald, “I don’t know anything about insurance. All I know is I’ve gotten more mail this year than I’ve got in my entire life from two hospitals.”
In worse cases, serious injuries can prove to be career ending. Patrick Courtney, an athlete for North Carolina A&T University, was diagnosed with a hernia injury during training camp. Upon his recovery, the college refused to pay for his hospital bills and revoked his scholarship due to his inability to maintain his football career.
“Having to take care of my family, it would have made a difference if I’d gotten paid [in college],” Jadeveon Clowney, a top NFL player for Houston, Texas, stated to CSNBC, “They’re selling our jerseys with our numbers and making money off of ticket sales, so I think college athletes should get paid.”
To aid them in paying for medical and educational expenses, athletes should partake in the revenue of their team’s franchise. According to ESPN host, Michael Wilbon, networks such as CBS and Turner Sports are making as much as $250,000 per game, so it is only fair that the athletes themselves are paid. Without them, there would be no games to watch or teams to root for in the first place.
College athletes provide entertainment for viewers, and strengthen people’s passion for sports all across the country. The least their schools can do to repay them is provide basic financial support.