The Tailgater: Collegiate Athletes Collecting Cash

Trevor Griner

The recent NCAA ruling that led to the banning of University of Kentucky recruit, Enes Kanter, from playing in any collegiate games due to his contract with Fenerbache (a Turkish basketball team) brings about a very interesting topic for discussion: the payment of collegiate athletes. Obviously, college athletes receiving payment of any sort, be it in the form of money, gifts, or tattoos (Tyrell Pryor) is forbidden and a punishable offense, but should it be? Should we let some athletes, such as Cam Newton (Auburn) slide and escape reprimand, while others like Kanter face punishment? Or should the NCAA develop a strict standard that they adhere to, and punish all athletes that are compensated?

The other, and more radical option, would be to pay all collegiate athletes a base salary to avoid scandals that deplete an institution of funding and scholarships. I can entertain the thought of paying college kids to play sports.  I mean, why not? If kids participating in NCAA sanctioned sports are going to commit more than forty hours a week to their designated sport, what would be wrong with paying them at least minimum wage? It seems as if most of these kids realize there are ways for them to cash in on their talents, but because receiving payments is a NCAA violation, sneaky methods are often practiced to avoid suspension.

Nationally broadcasted incidents such as Heisman Trophy winner, Cam Newton, facing possible suspension, Enes Kanter being declared ineligible, and the suspension of five Ohio State football players, including standout quarterback Tyrell Pryor, have brought much attention to the topic of under the table payments.  All three of these cases brought about different punishment, which further probed the question; What are the NCAA standards? Cam Newton escaped practically unscathed although his father was banned from team related events. Enes Kanter will also not be allowed attend the University of Kentucky, and the five Ohio State football players will miss the first half of next seasons games.

I suppose I wouldn’t be so irked if a standard was set for the NCAA across the board, but that still wouldn’t solve the issue of athletes not receiving compensation. So I say, pay those athletes! Who’s with me?