Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 11/11/12
It is an argument that has been raging for years, decades even. Should college football players get paid?The question is one of total ignorance. College football players already get paid. A full ride scholarship which includes, tuition, books, room, board and food is worth well over $100,000.00 with today’s cost of college. That is a lot of zeros.The argument rears its ugly head again because of the devastating injury to South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, a sure fire first round NFL draft pick the day he declares eligible for the draft. And the new college football playoff system.The injury, potentially will cost him millions of NFL pay day dollars. A tragedy for the young man no matter how you look at it. No matter how rare of an occurrence it is sad to see happen.Once you remove the emotion from this argument it is very easy to understand college football players should not be getting paid. Not getting paid beyond what they already do that is.I'd give my left nut to have enough talent to get a full ride anywhere. Of course I'd probably give both to be a professional athlete. Sorry nuts it is true. But my nuts are not the topic here.Why would I do that? To get a free college education, theses student loans are killing me. I will pay them until the day I die most likely. And then to take it a step further to be filthy rich and semi-famous.This notion that college athletes don't get paid is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. They get as I said earlier more than $100,000.00 worth of college education and other associated costs.Let's look at football. For major colleges it supports all the other sports and maybe even a little extra. For smaller schools it is more like a break even prospect or worse. Keep in mind a major college, by this definition, is one of great football success and not the size of it's campus or student body.Here is the real perspective on the topic. There are about 10,000 division one, (now referred to as FBS), football players on scholarship, in any give year. Only a handful will play in the NFL, let's say around 20% when you consider those players on the bottom of rosters get cut and others get signed. Of those 20% only a very select few get the filthy rich money and another select few get rich. The rest are not poor, but don't last long enough to qualify for either of those two categories.Keep in mind these numbers don't even include all the divisions below the FBS or other sports. Add about another 10,000 football scholarship players on lower levels. Making that 20% closer to 10% when taking them all into consideration. And to reiterate only a select few have any kind of long lasting career to become "rich."Also keep in mind these numbers are in no way official, but the actual numbers are irrelevant. My estimations are close enough to make the point. So don't focus on the wrong part of the story.There is also disability insurance available for players, albeit not free.So there are tens of thousands of young men and women getting a free education plus associated costs.Paying any athletes additional funds means; fewer students, athletes and non-athletes alike, will have fewer funds available for scholarships.Yes the Marcus Lattimore cases are sad, but also very rare. I hope he, and all athletes, have the insurance policies offered. I wouldn't be opposed to them being included as part of the scholarship. I imagine with so many athletes the rates would be pretty damn good.So outside of the select few that have professional sports career, there are tens of thousands earning a free education, over the years and decades, it is hundreds of thousands with no hope of a professional athletic career. Even for those that do make it big, the education would be invaluable to manage all that money, if they blow through all that money, or get injured.Suppose you believe some players should get paid. Who and how much? Let's not forget the really good ones are getting something under the table. We can pretend they don't but we all know they do. I chuckle when I hear a prestigious student athlete getting in trouble while in his 2012 Escalade. We all know he didn't buy that vehicle!It is ludicrous to think any of them should get paid. If they are that good they are going to get paid on a professional level. There is no need to pay them on the college level.It is time to end this ridiculous debate. Give them the insurance. I can support that, but actual pay, beyond what they already get, is a no brainer, unequivocal absolutely not.
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