The Dilemma of Paying College Athletes

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THE DILEMMA OF PAYING COLLEGE ATHLETES Introduction College sports support a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States, yet the principals whose performance on the field or in packed stadiums across the country are strictly amateurs who are forbidden to accept monetary compensation for their contributions, at least technically. Perhaps no better example exists of the tremendous importance of major college sports programs than the current controversy that recently came to light involving the legendary Pennsylvania State University Football program in connection with the apparent long-term tolerance of and refusal to take appropriate action against Jerry Sandusky, the defensive coordinator for the legendary coach Joe Paterno. Had the same types of allegations been levied against a member of the university's academic faculty, the institution surely would have taken appropriate action immediately. Meanwhile, in many respects, college athletes at large institutions competing at the highest levels routinely receive compensation in various forms that are impermissible, far beyond the already valuable full scholarships and room and board to which they are entitled in return for their matriculating at their institutions. That reality has prompted some to suggest that college athletes should be paid for their services. While that approach might resolve the obvious hypocrisy inherent in the system as well as the fiction behind the proverbial "student athlete," paying
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