By Mahadye Paniahie
As the FBI investigates the NCAA on corruption allegations, students and staff at County College of Morris have differing opinions on if the association should pay its players.
Up to 20 schools are being investigated for allegedly providing improper benefits including illegal payments and other gifts to its players, according to Sports Illustrated.
CCM athletic director Jack Sullivan said that NCAA Division I schools focus too much on business instead of academics.
“I do not like the higher levels of Division I athletics because it’s become big business, and it’s not the true spirit of what collegiate athletics is all about,” Sullivan said. “They’re not scholar athletes. They’re not amateurs. That’s a scam. It’s a sham. And I’m glad I’m not at that level, and that’s not why I got into college athletics, not for the money, not for that. I got into college athletics for the student athletes to make a difference in their educational goals through athletics.”
Juliana Lopez, a communication major at CCM, said that NCAA Division I student athletes should be paid.
“They work harder and dedicate time into training, and it exhausts them from trying to do well in school,” Lopez said. “They should be getting paid maybe $300 to $700 a month. I understand the schools cover some of their expenses, but they still should be getting paid, in my opinion. Some of these athletes need money for their families or personal reasons. People think scholarships are enough and athletes should be grateful for that, but the NCAA makes so much money that it seems unfair.”
The NCAA paying its players is something athletes and journalists have been debating on for a while now. NBA star LeBron James, who was drafted in 2003 directly out of high school, called the NCAA “corrupt” in late February, saying that Division I colleges do not recruit players with academic goals in mind, according to ESPN.
“Being an athlete for a Division I school is like having a job,” said Mary Skaltsis, a liberal arts major at CCM. “There is so much time and work you put in for the team that it becomes so hard to focus on other things. You don’t have enough free time to do schoolwork for class, commit to your sport, and have a job. How else are you supposed to make money? I don’t blame the athletes who take cash from schools. If they were getting paid legally, the NCAA would not be in this situation right now. The NCAA is ripping off these kids.”
Colleges do cover some, if not all, expenses for some students’ educations through scholarships, according to ESPN. The NCAA says that is enough of a benefit to get students to attend division one schools.
“I think these athletes are pushing it,” said Kelly Carmona, a liberal arts major at CCM. “Your education is paid for, and you get all your expenses covered. Whenever they go away, their travel and hotels are paid for. You get tuition and books paid for. If they get paid cash, they will use their money for other things and possibly ruin their careers by making dumb decisions. Yes, I understand the NCAA makes a ton of money off these athletes, but the athletes do get benefits from the school. It is kind of like teamwork; the NCAA uses these athletes, and these athletes use the NCAA as an opportunity for their careers.”