John Oliver from Last Week Tonight gives a humorous take on why student athletes should be paid. What do you think?
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Student athletes receive free tuition, housing, food, clothing, books, tutoring, advising, professional development, medical care, coaching, heck, even free road trips with some of their closest friends and these athletes want payment on top of all that?
Student athletes are already exposed to experiences and opportunities which other students can’t access. They are given four (or five) years to progress through their chosen degree whilst practicing up to 20 hours a week, and maintaining a 2.0 GPA. The amateur athletic club scene in America is not as developed as it is in European countries, so unless these athletes are signed to professional clubs after graduating high school they are left with very little alternative to college athletics if they want to progress athletically or academically. The NCAA gives athletes the opportunity to progress through a system which after the four years can lead to professional contracts and a professional athletic career, and if it doesn’t work out that way, at least they have a degree to fall back on.
Playing college sport is a privilege. 7.6% of high school athletes become college athletes and only 1.9% of these go on to compete at a Division I college, there is an even slighter chance of theses athletes going pro, with only 1 in 1,860 male college basketball athletes making it. Playing sport in college is a dream of many budding high school athletes but in reality, only a very small portion of them succeed it. Often, just the opportunity to play in front of thousands of people, against some of the respective best athletes in the country or even world, and to travel to different areas of the country is alone, enough payment for athletes.
If payment plans were to be an option, student athletes should have to choose between either a full ride encompassing all of the other benefits, or payment, not both. That would escalate prices of athletes to hundreds of thousands of dollars rather than the tens of thousands which they cost now.
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