Collegiate athlete compensation overdue

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — With a National Labor Relations Board ruling that Northwestern University football players should be considered employees of the school, and could even unionize, much attention has been focused on the finances of big-time college athletics.

That attention is long overdue.

For far too many years, major college athletics, especially football and men’s basketball, have been allowed to operate as quasi-professional minor league systems for the NFL and NBA.

In turn, colleges have reaped huge profits, with some of the excess money funneling its way to overpriced coaches’ and administrators’ salaries.

Granted, some of those profits from football and basketball help to underwrite the expenses of less profitable programs. In most cases, only football and basketball turn enough profit to bolster non-revenue generating sports.

But even considering that factor, college athletics has become a money train for many institutions — one which calls into question many of the educational institutions’ main purpose and presents a plurality of moral and ethical dilemmas.

With all that said, though, we still find it hard to consider college athletes as employees of their respective schools.

College athletes on scholarship are receiving significant compensation in the form of free tuition, room and board. They also receive their books and have plenty of educational assistance available in the form of tutors and special student hall accommodations.

Athletes who are in school for the ultimate purpose of receiving a degree have ample opportunity and assistance to accomplish that task.

But there are aspects of NCAA regulations that should be changed to help athletes as they pursue either a degree or a career as a professional athlete…

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