Should college athletes be paid?

Should college athletes receive a salary or a stipend and what is the value of a scholarship? It's the age-old question that is tossed around year-after-year. Universities continue to set records in television revenue for football and basketball with schools collecting the checks, while players receive nothing. 

In a special edition of The Ian Furness Show, former Washington Husky basketball player and current analyst for the Huskies, Jason Hamilton, along with former Washington State football and NFL player, Jed Collins, discussed the possibility of paying college athletes.  

Hamilton said paying college athletes in football and basketball is not the issue, it's the other university sports where problems arise. 

"The issue is that you cannot separate football and basketball from the rest of the university sports programs. They are the money drivers, obviously, mostly football. It pays for the soccer, softball, volleyball, gymnastics, it pays for that and allows for the programs to exist. Do you treat the gymnast and the soccer player the same as a football player? Do you treat the same team, all the football players, equal? Is the quarterback’s revenue worth the same as the fifth string right tackle? I have an issue talking about part launch payments across the board because I don’t understand how that’s going to be funded."  

Under NCAA Title IX rules, schools and universities cannot discriminate based on the sport or the player. For example, the quarterback receives the same scholarship as any tennis player under scholarship. 

Collins said there is a way to pay the college athletes without a large burden on the universities or the NCAA. 

"Tying it to the value of the scholarship…You say, $2,000 a student athlete and let’s say large numbers, there are 400 student athletes at your university, that’s ($800,000). That’s a defensive coordinator, that’s nowhere near the head coach (salary), and it's not one game’s television rights. That’s not one month’s endorsement contract that the university is going to seek. From a financial perspective, it’s not that big of a tilting point, it’s not that big of a drop in the bucket. It is a large amount of money and we have to emphasize and understand that. But truly, to tell a student athlete after all is said and done, we’re going to pay for your meals, and because you do have a part time job,  because you are putting in the hours of homework, the hours of studying, the hours of preparing and playing in the games, we’re going to give you a $1,000 in spending cash…Even saying that, approaching it that way is just a gesture and again it gets into where does it end, how do you dictate it, and all these other questions." 

In 2017, NCAA President Mark Emmert announced there's needs to be changes in the way the NCAA operates, but so far, there is no agreement between schools on how or what those changes would entail. 

Do you think college athletes should be paid or receive some payment? Comment below. 

You can listen to Furness' full interview above with Jason Hamilton and Jed Collins, or on the podcast, here.

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