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Student-athletes deserve some compensation for injury

You wake up on a beautiful fall Saturday morning after a long Friday night of partying and debauchery to your roommate banging loudly on your door.

You instantly jump out of bed. You had forgotten today was the first day of the college football season. Most students consider college football to be one of their favorite college pastimes.

The fans aren’t the only ones who are excited, though. All the players are already in the stadium, warming up to put on a show for the fans. As the game begins, fans, students and nonstudents begin piling into the stadium to get tickets and food before finding their seats to enjoy one of the greatest things this earth has to offer.

The opponent’s team kicks the ball to your return man, who catches it and blasts off toward the other end of the field. After crossing the 30-yard line, he gets hit hard, and the play is whistled dead. After everyone gets up, he is still lying on the ground, holding his knee and screaming in agony. He has just torn his ACL and MCL and will probably never play again. He’s a freshman on a full-ride football scholarship that will probably be taken away from him now that he’s injured. All the work he put toward football to obtain the chance to go to college seems to be for nothing.

These incidents happen all the time, and not just in football. In every sport, there is always a chance it could be a player’s last game. This strikes a highly debated question: Should college athletes get benefits other than scholarships?

These student-athletes make their universities millions of dollars in ticket and clothing sales, and while a scholarship is a good start, it is not enough of a reward for the hard work and determination they put in every day, especially if it can be lost in a single moment.

While some schools offer guarantees that a student-athlete will keep his scholarship in the event of an injury, most do not. This is the first thing that needs to change. If a student commits to play for a school, then the school should commit to that student.

There should be a guarantee that every college athlete who gets injured while playing will keep his scholarship, even if he is unable to play again. It should work the same way as workers compensation in any other high-risk occupation.

Players should receive some type of actual payment for their hard work. A student-athlete’s life is difficult to balance. Most collegiate teams practice five to six hours a day. Throw class time and homework on top of that, and the players have just enough time to sleep before they wake up and repeat the cycle again. This does not leave time for them to get a job to financially support themselves.

This leaves them with two options: either quit or find another way to make money. That is why most student-athletes take deals from agents. I would do the same thing if put in that position.

Think about it, you’re practically a hero in your town, but you’re too poor to even afford a sandwich. Then some guy comes up and asks you to sign a bunch of helmets for $5,000. You know you might lose your scholarship, but with no money to support yourself, it’s not even worth having, so you do it.

All these scandals in college sports could be avoided if the student-athletes were rewarded in more than a free ride. With the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) making millions off the image of these players, I see no problem in giving a fraction of it back to them.

For example, using the average ticket price as $20 and the average football stadium as fitting 20,000 people, that’s $400,000 in ticket sales alone. Now, add selling $30 shirts, $6 hot dogs and $5 sodas, and the total amount made off one game could potentially be around $550,000.

Now, take that times the 16 regular season games played, and you’re looking at a total of around $8 million a year. I understand there are costs such as stadium maintenance and coaches’ salaries, but you can’t tell me after that is taken out there isn’t enough money left to give these players something more than a free admission to your institution.

These student-athletes are using their gifts and hard work to make their universities and the NCAA money. The least these entities could do is give a little more back.

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