A student who pursues any sport as an extracurricular activity becomes a method of cashing the sport for the institutions they study in. A student-athlete as he is called gets a status above a regular student for his extraordinary performance. He is given all the facilities that normally no one gets.
Some unusual favors are downed upon him which otherwise he wouldn’t even think of getting. He gets a scholarship, accommodation, food, and tuition all for free.
This is beneficial both for the institution and for the student-athlete. Where the athlete gets the above-mentioned benefits the institution encashes his performance during inter-school sports competitions and other such events.
It has been observed that the institution or private companies seem to benefit more than the student-athlete. There have been instances of the coaches being paid more than a full-time professor as they prove to be a source of high monetary gains for the institution than the others. There have been cases of coaches going on strike in Universities like Pittsburg demanding a hike in their salaries.
It will not be irrelevant here to mention that Andy Oliver was the first athlete ever to win against the NCAA in court which raised objections to NCAA’s football contracts with the television. Now let us go back to the history that traces the origin of this term student-athlete.
This term was first used in the 1950s post the death of Ray Dennison from a football-related head injury. When his widow filed for a workman’s compensation she was denied saying he was not working for the university during his tenure and therefore it doesn’t cover the workman’s compensation.
Now the question arises whether they should be paid at all. There has been a huge argument about this which has not reached a conclusion yet! Some feel that the monetary form of reward will affect their performance and they will no longer have a passion for the game and will become money-minded. There is yet another group that believes the payment is important owing to the great benefit they are giving to the universities and institutions.
The group against this idea points out that the university already goes out of them in providing books, scholarships food, and residence so they should not be asking for more. In this way, the argument seems never-ending! Not all sports bring profits to schools and colleges.
Games need to be chosen on the basis of their popularity. They should be the ones that people would like to watch on television and enjoy. In that sense football and basketball have been the sports adding to the profit of schools and colleges. Amongst these, there are some specific football teams chosen over the others owing to their popularity.
So in this way, a student-athlete has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders and the money involved is what makes people in countries like the United States of America take more interest in sports in comparison to the other countries. So let’s hope to see more fair play and less exploitation of student-athletes in the years to come!