While the conversation around college athletes being paid is ongoing (and for the record, I do believe that they should be paid), there are certainly many benefits to being a top collegiate athlete in the NCAA.
Take Division I football players for example. They’re most often found in the spotlight (or at least up there with college basketball players), their games are always on TV, their stadiums are most likely full each week. There are scouts in and out of the building at the top schools and the facilities they practice in are palaces in the sporting world.
Then comes one of the biggest games of their lives … let’s say the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. One of the great bowl games to play in. But recently, a player and his family couldn’t afford to go to the game.
It’s relatable for lots of people, whether you’re talking about a collegiate game or a youth sports game. When you’re playing in a big game, you want your family and those who are along that journey with you to be there.
So, Chase Young (a defensive end for the Ohio State football team who is arguably one of the nation’s best players), reportedly borrowed money from a ‘family friend’ last year to help pay for his girlfriend to fly to California for the game. Young has paid the loan back in full mind you. However, he did not play for the Buckeyes on Saturday against Maryland because of the loan. The expectation is that there will be some form of suspension — anywhere from one to four games, depending on NCAA ruling.
It’s this type of situation that shows the cruelty of the NCAA. A player borrows money from a family friend, pays it back in full and will face suspension because of it.
There are so many situations where coaches or administrators are guilty of worse, but continue to coach until they are actually proven guilty (which is how it should be). With the student-athletes however, it seems they are more often treated guilty until proven innocent.
Why the more harsh treatment for the athletes, many of whom still face hardships while in school, compared to the coaches who in some instances are making more money than one could even imagine?
Most of us know the struggle of being students, so when you become a student-athletes, why do we assume those struggles just disappear all of a sudden? I understand that the NCAA has rules to make sure athletes don’t accept money from people or agents who are bribing or rewarding them for on-field/court play/performances, but accepting a loan from a family friend? Really? I think if you asked plenty of college students if they’ve ever borrowed some money from a family friend during the time they worked towards their degree, a lot would say yes. It’s likely that some of them haven’t gotten to paying it back yet either.
At the end of the day, it’s a lot of hoopla over something that I think is very minor. There are much bigger fish to fry in the NCAA, so why focus on something so insignificant?