NCAA Tournament: Life of a Student-Athlete


Hey guys!  I’m sitting in my hotel room in Lexington, KY right now anxiously awaiting our game tomorrow vs. Butler.  The game is at 12:40 on TruTV if you want to check it out!

Anyway, I’ve found it very difficult to focus on schoolwork the past couple days due to the practice, travel, and just overall hoopla surrounding the NCAA Tournament.  I’ve been reading all of your blogs, thinking of cases, and researching guys like Bernie Madoff and Pete Rose.  This blog and class is a great example of why I love Bucknell so much – I’ve learned and experienced so many valuable things in my 4 years here.  I love the fact that student-athletes are expected to get ‘it’ 🙂 done in the classroom just as much as in their respective sport.  A lot of people in the media criticize the NCAA or specific universities for using the term ‘student-athletes’ too loosely (read this story about about Steven Kaspar on our team: http://www.cbssports.com/general/blog/gregg-doyel/21918004/bucknell-problems-are-nerd-stuff), but at Bucknell, the term shines bright in my opinion.  And I love that!

Where am I trying to with this… Well, after not being able to find a topic/case for my paper after thinking about it the past couple days, I think I am going to write about the issue surrounding NCAA athletes and how they cannot be paid by their universities.  Today I was asked by a reporter if the academic rigor at Bucknell helps us as players on the court.  It was an interesting question and one that not too many people have asked me in the past.  It made me think, and I ultimately said that yes, it does help us on the court, but our experiences on the court help us as students, too!  I’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs throughout my four years here at Bucknell — in the classroom, on the court, and MANY places in-between.

I get frustrated when people write off athletics as non-stimulating and not a ‘learning experience.’  I get equally as frustrated when I read of players at universities not going to class or not valuing their education.  I get even MORE frustrated when I hear of people who just do their homework all day or just play their sport all day.  There are many, many things to enjoy in life and while being dedicated in driven is important, so is balance! 

So in regards to my paper, I’m going to argue that student-athletes should be paid.  Not because they are ‘special’ or ‘privileged’.  Rather, because their job is just as important, and just as much as meaningful as a summer internship or working as a tutor.  If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine, that’s your opinion.  But I’ve learned so much from being an athlete and I think my career has helped me mature and develop to be the person I am today.

Alright, I’m off to bed.  ‘Ray Bucknell!!!

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7 thoughts on “NCAA Tournament: Life of a Student-Athlete

  1. I think the usual point is that athletes should be paid commensurate to what they generate in value. Hence, they might be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars at some schools. Does that change how you look at it? Would you want to be a student-athlete here competing against a Missouri player who makes $100,000 a year? if he does, what motivation does he have to study?

    • I would think a player at Missouri, making that much money, would have even MORE motivation to study. Because if that player doesn’t, and falls behind in class, he/she’s suspended from games — which means he/she’s not going to get paid. And I bet they would want $100,000 a year.

      • Call me cynical, but odds a student making $100,000 for basketball would study harder < (is less than) odds university would lower standards or hire "tutors" to make sure star player doe snot fail.

        I am not impugning YOU or the vast majority of student-athletes. I am talking about the 0.1% (or whatever) who might actually be able to show they earn large amounts of $$ for their institution through their "athletic labor."

      • You’re right, and I was going to include in my response that paying a student-athlete this much money would require a lot more investigations and regulations by the NCAA. Common belief (at least in the college basketball community) is that larger universities that have big-time programs have much lower academic standards and have “tutors” to make sure the players don’t fail, like you said. And this is WITHOUT being paid.
        However, there’s one interesting thing to think about if players started getting paid… The money would be coming FROM the university. Not TO it. So, relate it to playing in the NBA, for example. When a player doesn’t show up for practice or does something detrimental to the team, the team fines the player. This is money that the organization won’t have to pay the player. Whether or not the long-term ‘cost’ of the player missing practice will outweigh the money the team saved by fining them varies case by case, but I’ve never heard of an organization reluctant to fine a player.
        So, I think it’s interesting to think about how a university and athletic program might change if student-athletes were paid. I could also see the opposite happening, in which these student-athletes are held to higher standards academically because they are taking money from the university.

  2. I actually was surprised that you made the point that your academic pursuits at Bucknell do you help you as an athlete. I guess its work hard in the classroom work hard on the court. Anyway, I do think its a ridiculous rule that NCAA athletes can’t be paid for the hours of work they put in on a daily basis.

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