Bill Self Says Student-Athletes Should Get Paid

By Joseph Nardone

It seems that Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self isn’t afraid to weigh in on some important issues.  The Lawrence Journal-World recently learned that during a panel Round-table discussion that Self is in favor of paying student-athletes.

(Following quote is obtained and accredited to The Lawrence Journal-World)

“I used to be totally against paying players, paying athletes. I’ve changed,” Self said Friday in a phone conversation with the Journal-World to discuss particulars of his upcoming “Courtside View” panel discussion set for 7-8:30 p.m., Nov. 1 at Lawrence’s Crown Toyota Pavilion.

“I think if presidents are willing to take these athletes and send them across America, miss more school because they have conference realignment, and with the big business of the BCS Championship playoff in football plus the amount of money we generate through television in basketball, I can’t imagine why there aren’t different angles and avenues in which we could compensate the people that are exactly the ones bringing the money to the schools — the student-athletes,” Self said, taking one long breath. (Again, quote is accredited and obtained through The Lawrence Journal-World)

While I give credit for Self having a smart opinion on the matter, it’s going to take more than just him to get the ball rolling on paying athletes. I’ve weighed in on this issue a few different times with a few different angles(HERE and HERE and the issue at hand is very delicate.

If the NCAA wants, or feels it has to, start paying student-athletes a few things are immediately thrown out the window. No longer can you defend the athletes as just kids, paying them in any form makes them a professional and open game for criticism. Also, depending on the way they plan on paying the athletes, this can feel like guns for hire with the 1 and done rule. If you completely understand you’re recruiting a kid for 1 year, only for him to declare early for the draft, the fact that the program is paying him can make it feel like free-agency instead of recruitment.

But let’s be honest here, major collegiate sports is a million dollar business. If the argument is still somehow “Well they get free school”, it’s a shallow and inaccurate take at best. Despite what the NCAA commercials tell you about 99 percent of the athletes going pro in something else than sports, the majority of athletes in the major sports aspire to use the program they enroll in as a stepping stone. The student-athlete plans on showcasing his skills while playing for the university and hoping it turns into a professional career in sports.

College sports is big business and the athletes are on the short end. I’m sure there is a solution that could be reached where the kids are compensated in some form. Unfortunately for them, the NCAA isn’t exactly the smartest “building” in the country.

The universities can, if they aren’t being overly selfish, push the NCAA in the direction of paying student-athletes. The question of whether or not they are willing to share millions upon millions with kids they use until they’re eligibility is up, only to be thrown to the wayside with an iffy education, is left to be seen.

The NCAA and schools around the country swear they care about the kids and their book-learning. Yet they make these kids travel across the country and miss school when it benefits them financially. It’s put up or shut up time for both the NCAA and universities. If you really care about the student-athletes education, it’s time for regional conferences, rivalries, and schedules.

Wait, you’ve already gone in the completely different direction and are solely focused on money. What’s that saying, more money more problems? Pay the kids, you’ve already paid yourselves.

Follow Joe on Twitter @JosephNardone


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