Student athletes compensated, not paid to play

Life for a college student-athlete can be a hectic. Early wake-up times, practices, team meetings and traveling out-of-state for competitions are just a few things the average student-athlete at any division-one school has to juggle. And don’t forget, they must stay on top of their grades, too.

After all, they are students before athletes and must maintain a certain GPA to participate. So is the chance to play the sport you love, having a platform to showcase your talents and an education enough compensation for that responsibility?

Nick Carbary, senior captain on the men’s golf team, says it is.
“If you have a full scholarship like I do, you can pay for your tuition, books and room and board,” Carbary said. “And you don’t have to live on campus. They give you a certain amount, and if my rent is under that I get to keep the rest.”

What if student-athletes need some money for everyday living expenses but they don’t have the time to get a job. Should they have an opportunity to get paid, as well?

“The most a college athlete should get paid for is just for their expenses,” Carbary said. “It would just get out of control if college athletes started getting paid. It would be too much like a pro sport. I just think it would hurt some of the integrity of the college sports.”

Melody Werner, assistant athletic director and senior women’s administrator, said EMU has a really good solution that does not professionalize the sport, but merely assists the players participating in athletics.

EMU gets the compensation it needs for its student-athletes through a National Collegiate Athletic Association supplemental fund that is distributed to all division-one schools.

“Basically, the money is divided on the basis of the number of sports the institution sponsors and the number of student-athletes that participate,” Werner said. “The most important criterion is the number of Pell Grants recipients there are in our athletic program.”

Coach of the EMU men’s basketball team Charles Ramsey said, “All our kids get Pell Grants, and where do you think that money is going? In their pockets. So we have some kids doing very well monetarily.”

When compared to other schools in the Mid-American Conference, EMU is getting a very healthy chunk of money to compensate its student athletes.

“It’s well over $100,000 per year,” Werner said. Former student-athlete and current EMU Athletic Director Derrick Gragg weighed in:

“It is a complicated issue. In my opinion, there is no viable way to pay student-athletes,” Gragg said. “The NCAA supplemental fund that is distributed to student athletes can be used for clothing allowances or sending a student home for the holidays.”

EMU has a full compensated, full scholarship athletic program that can take care off all of its athletes needs. Coach Ramsey is pleased with the way his players are compensated.

“I think they do a very good job of compensation with tuition, books and when we travel they stay very comfortable,” Ramsey said. “Its first-class everything we do in regards to travel.”

For those not on a full-ride scholarships, EMU still does what they can to help them pay for the always rising price of education.

Sophomore Dayna Bergman is on the EMU women’s track team as a thrower. She gets a book loan, but doesn’t think student-athletes should be paid any more than what they already get. She does want to see more scholarships available for student-athletes at EMU. “For them to pay for our schooling is really enough,” Bergman said. “It would be awesome if they were to pay us but more money than just paying for school would be a little bit much.”


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