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Should Schlolarship College Athletes Stay In School And Get Degree? [Poll]

Cody Zeller
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Yesterday, one of the big local sports stories was the announcement that IU basketball players Christian Watford and Cody Zeller would return to IU next season and not jump to the NBA as was speculated for both. That story got me wondering about this whole ‘one and done’ thing happening with college athletes, in particular, college basketball players who leave after one year to turn pro.

 Scholarships are not given to just any student and according to new information, the average college graduate today has about $150,000 in student loan debt after graduation. A scholarship pays for some if not all of your education depending on the type of scholarship received.

I know the lure of big money at the professional level is the most motivating factor for young athletes, but what guarantee do they have of long-term success and without a degree, what would they do to support themselves and their family in the event their pro career goes bellyup because of injury or whatever?

Cody Zeller, Indiana’s Mr. Basketball after his senior season at Washington High School in Washington, Indiana, had a stellar freshman year for IU and some experts thought he might  go pro. Zeller’s older brothers, Luke and Tyler each received degrees. Luke, from Notre Dame and Tyler, from North Carolina. It seemed unthinkable to me that Cody would not stay at IU and earn his degree.

It used to be, if a scholarship player wanted to leave school in favor of the pros, they had to apply for what used to be known in the NCAA as ‘hardship’. If hardship was granted, a player could leave school and give up his scholarship for the riches of the professional level.

Today’s world is much different with very skilled players leaving after one or two years for something that is not guaranteed, thus leaving their school’s program in a lurch and what happens to that scholarship?

 Could this open the possibility of actually paying student-athletes or maybe forcing a player to pay back the cost of that scholarship with their first professional paycheck? Who knows, but the issue should be addressed.

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