For the last few years, the talk in college athletics has been whether or not athletes should get paid. There are those who say that these athletes should be able to benefit from their performance and popularity. Meanwhile, others say these athletes go to college and should not be rewarded for it.
People on both sides of the argument make some valid points. The people who support the athletes getting paid often say that they are bringing in money to their school and the NCAA, so why shouldn’t they benefit in some way? I would argue that they are already getting paid. Look at the price of a scholarship over four years at any institution. Let’s assume that you are from Iowa and go to the University of Iowa on a football scholarship and live on campus. According to the University of Iowa website, an in-state student still has to pay close to $70,000 if they spend four years at the university with housing and meals. For the same student out-of-state, this would cost about $145,000.
A student at St. Ambrose would receive a similar amount to the out-of-state Iowa student. According to the St. Ambrose University website, four years of tuition plus living in traditional housing with a 14 meal-a-week plan comes close to $143,000. These numbers show that these athletes are being well compensated for their hard work.
On the other side of the coin, giving them nothing is not the answer either. For one, it is nearly impossible for an athlete to have a job. With practice, games, and academic requirements, there is simply no time to have a job.
Another problem is feeding these athletes. Although these athletes will get meals with their scholarship, they need access to other food. An athlete cannot be expected to stay in great physical shape when they are eating only school cafeteria food. They have to have access to other foods, and unless their parents give them money, they probably are unable to afford these foods.
The simple solution to this problem is giving college athletes a voucher to a local grocery store. This voucher would apply to all student athletes, not just the ones on scholarship. One could argue that the walk-ons need this even more than many of the scholarship athletes. This voucher would only apply to food, and would expire at the end of each month. This would give the athletes the ability to eat better, and, in turn, possibly perform better on the field.
This is the best solution to this difficult problem. Athletes deserve to be compensated, but too much money can have a bad effect on a college athlete. This way, the athletes are getting rewarded for their hard work, but are not getting money that will make it seem like it is a job.