Should Scholarship Athletes Work?

Should Scholarship Athletes Work?

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Should Scholarship Athletes Work?


     Should college athletes on full ride scholarships be able to hold a job
during the school year? Well up until Monday, January 12, 1997, full
scholarship athletes were forbidden to hold jobs during the school year. For
the last five years this has been a very controversial issue in the National
Collegiate Athletic Association, known as the NCAA. Imagine being from a poor
family and going to college on a full-ride scholarship for basketball. Under
the old legislation, that player is not allowed to work or receive money from
the school. In turn the player cannot afford to even travel home over the
holidays to be with his family. Athletes should be able to hold a job during
the school year in order to get the valuable experience of working and make
enough money to cover living expenses and traveling costs.
     Under the new legislation, which was passed at the NCAA Convention,
Division I athletes on full scholarship will be allowed to earn enough money to
match the full cost of attending school. Athletic scholarships typically cover
room, board, books and tuition, but do not cover costs for trips home, gas,
laundry and other items. The determination of how much money covers those things
is made by each school's financial aid office; most administrators have
estimated the costs to be between $2,000 and $3,000 a year. Athletes who choose
to work, and their employers, will be required to sign an affidavit that says
the athletes have not been hired on the basis of their athletic ability or
status and that they will be compensated only for the work they perform at a
rate commensurate with the local rate of pay for such work.
     Critics of the legislation that passed said it opens the door for the
very problems that originally sparked the regulation, athletes being paid for
menial labor, and that keeping track of how much money athletes are earning will
be difficult. But according to Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, "Sure there
will be bogus jobs,'' he said. "It'll open up a can of worms, but I think we
have to start living with cans of worms and let the presidents, athletic
directors, and board of trustees handle it.'' It makes more sense to have the
schools required to enforce the new regulations involved than it does to ask the
NCAA to handle it. The schools have first hand account o f all the players at
their school, therefore they are in the best position to enforce the new
legislation's requirements.
     On the job experience is essential when looking for a job after college.

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Many athletes under the old legislation did not have the imperative experience
necsasary. Bridget Niland is a former distance runner at the State University
of New York and chairwoman of the NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She
gives a good example of why the real work experience is necessary to becoming
successful. She said, "Athletic experience, while valuable, cannot be equated
with real work experience. . . . When you apply for a job, an employer says,
`It's great you can run a 4:30 mile, but what work experience do you have?' "
Now full scholarship athletes will be able to get at least some real work
experience.
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