Kevin Ware’s Injury Reminds Me It’s Time To Pay College Athletes

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What’s been said in theory can be said again in reality due to Louisville’s, Kevin Ware’s injury.  The college basketball star broke his bone in two places.  It was gruesome.  CBS made the decision not to show it up close and when they realized how horrific it was they stopped showing it altogether.

I applaud their intention but we all needed to see it more.  Not out of morbid curiosity.  But to understand the personal and career risk these young men take.  And how it’s long past the time to compensate athletes with more than room, board and free classes.

Yes, a college education is very valuable.  But for too long it has been used as a smoke screen to blur the exploitation of college athletes.

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I get that the money generated from men’s college basketball and football funds many other college programs. That doesn’t mean it is right to deny or keep payment from the work force that earns it.  Especially when, universities, networks, coaches, and so many others profit from it.

I also get that a function of Title IX is to ensures equality between men’s and women’s athletics.  Title IX is also to be applauded.  It has corrected a wrong and helped to elevate women’s sports and create opportunities that were previously unavailable.

However, if I have a job in car sales and my co-worker sells ten times more cars than me, he or she will make a lot more money in commission than I will.  This doesn’t mean I’m being treated unfairly.

In fact, it is common in sales that unless you reach your quota, which is to say reach a minimum amount of sales, you don’t make any commission, or it’s minimal.

There ought to be a revenue generating formula that can help determine which sports teams, male or female, in college are eligible to receive some form of payment that would not violate Title IX.

Further, there are other ways, outside sources, that can pay college athletes that would not take money from other programs or conflict with Title IX.

One:  allow boosters, alumni, or fans of a college program to contribute x-amount of dollars to a fund that pays players.

Second:  Allow college athletes to make money from endorsements.  That’s right, not only do colleges get away with exploiting these athletes and not paying them, they prevent them from making money from outside marketing opportunities.

Whether it’s from boosters or marketing, the income level could be capped to keep it in check and from giving the name schools too big of a recruiting advantage over smaller schools that wouldn’t be able to match it.

These young men, work hard, they play hard and many come from families in need.  It is past unreasonable to deny them some monetary compensation in addition to English 101.  Find a way.  Make it happen.  Because beyond the outpouring of immediate support from his teammates, coaches and twitter that will eventually fade, Ware and other athletes have earned it.