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Paydays, sexism shouldn’t exist in college sports

Originally published October 22, 2010

Recently, a big story in the sports world is the revelation that sports agent Josh Luchs has spent years throwing cash at various college football players. While no earth-shattering revelations have been made, it has sparked a debate that has led to some discussions.

There was an article written by David Whitley on AOL that made the argument that college athletes should be paid. This argument isn’t new, but it is intriguing, and, as a former college athlete, I wanted to know what he had to say.

What the link should have said is that men’s football and basketball players should be paid.

I was a volleyball player, and I understand that women’s sports don’t bring in nearly as much money as men’s do, especially in schools with basketball and football.

That doesn’t mean that equality should be thrown out the window, and it also doesn’t mean that anyone – whether or not their sport is profitable – should be receiving money.

In the article, though, was one of the most sexist, discriminatory lines I’ve ever read, “Athletic departments could easily pay players $500 a month if the golden goose didn’t have to share all its eggs so the women’s cross country team can fly to Utah for the Title IX Invitational.”

It doesn’t matter what your thoughts on college athletes getting paid (though they shouldn’t) or what your thoughts on sports are in general. The fact that Whitley, and many others out there who don’t have a national platform to voice their sexism on, still think that women’s sports are inferior is deplorable.

While the article hinges on the idea that only men’s basketball and football players should be paid, only women’s sports are called out for taking up too much of the budget.

Why should college athletes be punished for their sport simply not making enough money? They are not professionals.

These are students who are continuing to play a game they love, and most, even football and basketball players, will never make any money off it.

More than that, why specifically should women athletes be targeted because of their gender?

At some schools, women’s sports do generate a profit, depending on the success of a program, more so than men’s. In fact, Whitley himself points out that only 25 of the 119 Football Bowl Subdivision programs made a profit last year, and more numbers from the NCAA show that entire athletic departments that make a profit are a rarity.

Paying college athletes, and using discrimination to determine so, is taking 10 steps in the wrong direction.

Not only does it turn collegiate athletics into a professional world but it makes it okay for women’s sports to be treated as less worthy.

As cheesy as the NCAA commercials are, most college athletes will go pro in something other than sports, and adding a payday on top of scholarships turns an extracurricular into a job.

Whitley also talks about the athletes who might be on scholarship but don’t have enough spare money to enjoy a night out with their friends. You know what the average college student does in that situation?

They get a job, they take out a loan or they eat in.

The ability to throw a ball far or jump high or pack a stadium doesn’t earn a college player the right to get paid, just like the ability to form a sentence doesn’t give a writer the right to be sexist.