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Should College Athletes Be Able to Profit From Their Athletic Accomplishments?

Johnny Manziel
Scott Halleran, Getty Images

The question of whether college athletes should be paid has been a major topic of discussion over the last couple of years and many are saying the time has come. This has again come to light thanks to the stories surrounding Texas A & M sophomore quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and whether he was paid for signing memorabilia. As of today, three autograph brokers claim to have paid Manziel for signing hundreds of pieces of memorabilia. While all three brokers have been more than willing to share their stories with the media and social media sites, all three are refusing to speak with the NCAA in fear that it could jeopardize Manziel’s eligibility for the coming season.

If Manziel was paid for his autograph on some helmets and jerseys, this season may not happen for Manziel and as some have speculated, effectively ending his college career. I say, who cares…what is wrong with a high caliber college athlete being paid for his autograph. It’s his his signature and it was his play last year that made him the superstar he is now, so why not?

Colleges and universities make millions of dollars every year from their programs, in particular, football and basketball. The coaches are allowed to have shoe deals and can be compensated for the use of their likeness, so why can’t the athletes who make those programs go? The idea that the athletes are getting a free education and that is compensation enough is simply no longer a valid argument.

These players generate unbelievable amounts of revenues for their respective schools, but they receive nothing back beyond their scholarship. It used to be that student-athletes could work in the off season to make some cash, but in today’s world, the athletes focus on their sport year-round, which leaves little time for anything else.

Texas A&M has a great football program and season ticket sales for this year are through the roof and if we are being completely honest about it, the reason for the ticket sales is not the program itself as much as it is Johnny Manziel.

I do wish student-athletes today would take their education more seriously and stay in school to earn their degrees because after all, that is what their scholarship is for. If a team’s prowess on the field or on the court translates to huge dollars for the school, why does everybody get a piece of that except the athlete?

I am not necessarily saying I believe they should be paid, but I do believe they deserve something beyond just their scholarship that allows them to enjoy at least some of what they helped create.

At the very least, it is time for some open and honest discussion about this topic. College sports has changed and is now a multi-million if not multi-billion dollar industry that is completely out of step with current NCAA guidelines. Bottom line, it’s a whole new ball game today…..no pun intended. What do you think?

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