Should student athletes be paid?

Former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr

Western Carolina University joined the national debate on student athletes getting paid for their time as players in college teams.

Former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr visited WCU on Feb.20, “to stir up a little controversy”. WCU SGA president TJ Eaves says it would be good if the athletes get paid, but on the other hand it is not possible for all the schools and certainly not for our program.

Orr’s speech was only an hour long and had a relaxed feel with a large amount of audience interaction. The former Supreme Court Justice not only spoke on his belief that college athletes should be paid, on top of a scholarship they may receive, but also talked about the athletes he represented who allegedly violated NCAA rules.

Orr is not alone on the subject that student athletes should be paid. The Atlantic magazine published a cover story “The Shame of College Sports” in October 2011 is a key source to the whole debate.

In the article, the author Taylor Branch, talks about many things that Orr spoke about. The large earnings of the NCAA that they make from the student athletes. According to Orr, CBS has an $11 million contract with the NCAA for the rights to March Madness and in his opinion, the student athletes are being “trampled on by the system”.

“I think when a kids likeness and name is used to sale jersey’s and for video games they should get some of that revenue” said Clark Sechrest, kicker and punter for Western Carolina’s football team.

Orr also touched on the amount of time student athletes spend practicing and preparing for their sport. “What I’ve perceived because of enormous time demand [student athlete’s time spent of actual schooling] is only a fraction of an average student,” said Orr.

Even though the reality of students getting paid is few to none, student athletes here think that some athletes should be paid. “Even though paying athletes might not happen it still opens Pandora’s box for opportunities” said Sechrest.

It seems those with in the sports field, that see all the hard work of the athletes first hand, think athletes should be paid but those on the other side think that scholarship money is simply enough. However, no matter which side you stand on the issue of whether athletes should be paid or not, it makes you wonder how much power does the NCAA really have over their athletes?