Milestone or Millstone? Weighing the debate of paying student athletes

Is it right to compensate college athletes? Though this question remains a matter of debate, starting in 2015, some conferences will allow scholarship money to cover incidental cost such transportation and personal expenses. What is yet to be determineD is whether or not these changes will be a milestone or millstone for the future of college athletes.

According to the “the cost-of-attendance arrangement,” which is supposed to make up for the near $2500 discrepancy between cost of scholarship value and that of cost of scholarship value based off cost of attendance.” As of August 1, 2015, “an athlete will now be able to get what amounts to a stipend based on the school’s estimate of a typical student’s transportation and personal expense costs” (USA Today, January 2015).

Power 5

A recent vote by BIG 12, ACC, BIG10, PAC12 and SEC conferences voted to:

  • borrow against future earnings to purchase so-called loss-of-value insurance – policies that can help athletes if an injury while playing college sports results in an athlete getting less money from a professional contract than they might have otherwise gotten.
  • Approve legislation that will prevent schools and coaches from choosing not to renew an athlete’s scholarship for athletic reasons. Under the system that has been in place, most athletic scholarships are subject to annual renewal.
  • Approve a resolution under which they pledge to, within the next two years, approve rules changes that would regulate time demands on athletes “to ensure an appropriate balance between athletics participation and the academic obligations and opportunities presented to students generally.”
  • Address issues  related to athletes’ access to career-related insurance and interaction with agents.

Much has yet to be discussed. And even more has yet to be discovered. In the era of mega-milion juggernaut of college sports, the struggles of college athletes are well documented. But, is a stipend actually payment for the athlete’s play? Is it really shared compensation for the millions upon millions of dollars colleges bring in every year? Or is this an effort from the power conferences to appease the players people comes to see (and spend plenty of money they do) while continuing to pad the pockets of the institution? The answer has yet to be weighed. But one thing is for certain. The situation for college athletes has gotten better and I’ll consider that progress. In any situation, especially one of this nature, progress is always good.

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