This is not rocket science: A lot of college athletes already get paid in the currency of a debt-free education which is worth more than $1 million over a lifetime of career earnings. So, for a college athlete to claim they are not the property of the NCAA, we say, “You should have thought about that before you chose to go to college.”
No one made these athletes go to college: There are professional sports leagues out there to sign them right out of high school, and if there are not, then they can go get a real job like the rest of the world. It is not the NCAA’s problem that they chose to go to college—and don’t value the currency they already do get paid plentifully in.
For decades, amateur athletes have gone to school, earned their degrees, and gone on to fruitful lives. The ones who do not take advantage of their free educations perhaps never should have gone to college in the first place. When we look at the MLB and NHL systems for minor leagues, we see the perfect model: A high schooler can choose between life’s first profession—sports—or they can choose to go to college under the existing system.
The NBA is coming along to this reality, slowly, and the NFL should, too—but again, that is not the NCAA’s problem, making the current #NotNCAAProperty movement completely illogical. After all, if colleges remain training grounds for all professions, then all students have to adhere to the rules, regardless of what they’re training to be in the future.
Again, it’s a choice: Athletes need to make it in your own best interests, and stop blaming other people for their individual issues. No one owes them anything other than what they deserve—and they get more than anyone else on campus already.
And by the way, if they want to get “paid” to play sports in college, they should have to give up all their scholarship benefits—including all the free coaching and athletic development they receive for free while on campus, which helps them tremendously on your journey to professionalism.
It’s that simple. Athletes need to make a mature decision if they wanted to be treated like an adult. Athletes already get so much education and professional development for free right now—advantages the average student does not get while paying through the nose already for tuition, books, room, and board, etc.
Perhaps athletes should recognize how lucky they already are instead of crying like babies that they deserve more.