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Debate continues over student athlete pay

The debate over whether student athletes on the college level should be increasingly compensated for their efforts continues, stoked by recent comments from the NCAA president made during an interview about the upcoming basketball championship games. Student athletes are not paid during their time playing for their school. Although many of them hope to go on to careers in the professional leagues, only a small fraction will. Now some are arguing that they should be paid in more than just discounted or free tuition for their time playing for colleges. 

This is a particularly big deal at places like the University of Minnesota and other Big 10 conference schools, where the athletic department and the school itself derive significant benefits from the performance of the athletes. One area of special concern for many student players is the use of their likeness in video games that draw huge profits for the NCAA but leave them without any meaningful additional compensation. At this time of year there is also the not-so-small matter of the NCAA championship tournament, including the Final Four games which help generate a large portion of the $900 million in annual revenue for the NCAA.

On the side opposing the idea of athlete pay is the president of the NCAA, who says that free or subsidized college degrees are of incredible value and that athletes are “set up for life” after receiving such a benefit. However, in the struggling economy the value of a college degree has been called into question for many who find that it is not as lucrative an investment as it has been in previous generations.

What do you think – should college athletes be paid or is a discounted degree enough?

Source: NBC News, “Should Student Athletes Be Paid? No, Says NCAA President,” Jeff Morganteen, March 26, 2014. 

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