LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Don't pay student athletes; give them a good education

Thursday, October 27, 2011 | 5:46 p.m. CDT

In response to Donald Kaul's guest commentary, "Free the College Football Market," I would like to express my own opinions regarding his idea that college football players should be paid for their services by boosters and sponsors.

I believe college football players should not be paid by boosters and sponsors because they are already being provided with goods and services that no ordinary student receives, and that it would be unfair to pay only one type of student-athlete.

One of the main problems that Mr. Kaul describes is that although football players are receiving scholarships, the quality of their education isn't worth the service the athletes are providing.

Another problem he addresses is that there have been multiple scandals at schools with big-time athletic programs that revolve around players receiving forms of payment.

College football players, as well as other athletes, see many benefits in the form of reduced living fees, nutritionists, trainers, specialized dining halls and other privileges that most regular students do not see.

Paying them on top of this is not the answer. Student-athletes are students first, and they came to college to receive and education.

Education requirements and opportunities for student athletes should be improved so that they may be able to obtain the best education possible while participating in their sport.

Not all sports bring in the same kind of money as football does, and they most likely would not bring in the same sort of personal payment.

However, that does not mean the athletes aren't working as hard or are less important. If one athlete is being paid by boosters and sponsors, they all should be.

But with hundreds of student athletes, that is next to impossible. Instead, universities could use that money to improve athletics facilities, nutrition programs or coaching staff.

These would benefit all of the athletes and would help those who hoped to pursue careers in professional athletics. To more closely regulate how student-athletes are compensated for their work their needs to be a general consensus throughout NCAA.

Education requirements must be supported by the NCAA so that no one school can get away with giving their athletes a poor education.

Even if a student wants to be a professional athlete and sees no benefit in academics, an education is still important. According to NCAA figures, less than 2 percent of basketball or football student-athletes end up playing professionally.

This being the case, those without a solid education are left with few options.

It's the student and a university's responsibility to educate them. Paying athletes with money is not the way to compensate them.

Paying them with a good education and the promise of a bright future is much more beneficial.

Elizabeth Renner is a student in communications at MU.

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