May 15, 2008
With the recent of former Trojan O.J. Mayo allegations the incident does
brings back an interesting debate of whether college athletes should get paid
to play or not.
The answer is no.
College players should not be able to accept sponsorship deals, money from
agents, appearances fees, or anything else outside of a school scholarship.
Mayo accepted a reported $200,000 and other luxuries from Rodney Guillory, who
was acting on behalf of a big-time sports agency, before ever stepping foot
In return, Mayo gave a verbal agreement to allow that agency to represent him
when he eventually turns pro.
Because being paid to play at a collegiate level only damaging to the game and
the players themselves.
By allowing student-athletes to earn money from playing you are basically inviting
corruption into the college game.
Sports agents will loiter around college campuses looking to sign the next
Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News
said it best if agents roam college campuses: “people who cozy up to them
(players) pretending to offer friendship or fatherly advice only so that they
may one day deliver those players to agents.”
There will be more riding on these college games and thus more pressure will be
placed on players to produce.
College is a time of self-discovery, where you find out who you truly are and
what you really want out of life.
If athletes are being bogged down by contracts, deals and money and sports
agents are basically making life-alternating decisions, where is there room for
the players to mature and grow into responsible adults?
There’s a certain sense of purity about the college game that can’t be found at
the pro level. With their amateurism status, there’s also certain level of
innocence, if you will, about the college athletes who not yet tainted by greed
with million dollar contracts and who unaccustomed to the fast paced lifestyle
of a pro athlete.
Allowing college athletes to get paid to play at a college level only takes
that purity away. College sports will no longer be the same, but instead be more
of a second-tier or development place for the pro leagues.
Think of the 1980 Winter Olympics U.S. men’s hockey team. It just wouldn’t be
the same if those same wholesome college kids on the U.S. team were replaced
instead with pros.
The underdog theme wouldn’t truly fit; the “miracle” just wouldn’t exist.
I say, the NCAA has it right to not allow college athletes to be paid to play
their sport; by doing this it keeps the game pure.