College slaves or student- athletes?

The Dallas Examiner | 4/14/2014, 11:28 a.m.

The Dallas Examiner

Should college athletes be paid? It’s a common debate lately, especially among many of those at our larger colleges and universities that have millions of dollars generated by sports teams.

For example, The University of Texas, which happens to rank No.1 in revenue, according to USA Today in 2012, generated $163,295,115 and expenses were $138,269,710. According to the Texas Tribune listing of government salaries, the head football coach at UT Austin had a salary of $5,266,667 and the head basketball coach’s salary was $2,400,000.

Opponents of paying college athletes say athletes receive scholarships that pay for all costs of a college education in return for playing sports.

But are they college students? Do they have an opportunity to be students? Athletes spend many hours in grueling workouts, long practice sessions, traveling away from campus to play in games. What college courses do they take? In many colleges they take courses requiring minimum study time, so that they have the time required to practice their sport. Many refer to the courses they take as “basket weaving courses.”

Those athletes who graduate from college in many instances are not prepared for gainful employment outside of the sports world. Few college athletes make it to the pros and sign those lucrative contracts we all hear about.

At this point, are they slaves or students?

There have been arguments that paying student athletes will open the door for other students to get paid for their contributions to their college. While others fear it could corrupt the spirit of sports, or pull students away from what little time they do spend in classes and studying. Still, if students start getting paid, there is the question as to the fine print on the contract.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lewis Alcindor Jr.) probably had one of the greatest college basketball careers in history. He was not paid while playing basketball for UCLA. Upon graduation from UCLA, Abdul-Jabbar played basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks.

In an interview segment on CNN”s Crossfire with Newt Gingrich and Van Jones, Abdul-Jabbar said he believes it is time for a change and talked about the unfair nature of college athletics. Many colleges make millions of dollars from the hard work of athletes on their sports teams. He pointed to the fact that athletes are responsible for generating incredible amounts of revenue and those athletes who are primarily responsible for generating the money should be the beneficiaries.

“It’s a $6 billion a year industry. Last year, CBS and TBS split up $1 billion just off of March Madness. There’s so much money being made and the people who are creating this wealth do not get to participate and they don’t get to graduate,” he said.

Some opponents of college athletes being paid point to Title IX that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. Despite the presence of Title IX, Abdul-Jabbar still believes that student-athletes should be paid.

“Football and basketball are on national TV. They generate money for all of these national sponsors and advertisers. It’s incredible how much money is being made. The president of the NCAA makes $1.7 million a year, yet the people who are performing and generating this cash do not get to participate in any way.”

Abdul-Jabbar’s position is that major college athletes are being exploited by the NCAA, but there are a lot of obstacles that must be overcome in order to make any significant changes.

Go online to http://www.dallasexaminer.com and vote whether college athletes should be paid or not.