Sun Belt Conference commissioner Karl Benson recently wrote this opinion piece for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that focused on the issue of college student-athletes being, in fact, students - not employees or professional athletes.
Benson points to a number of advances made to address the needs and welfare of student-athletes in recent years as well as some of the issues that would arise should the model of college athletics change significantly.
A brief excerpt from the piece:
Criticism of the amateur collegiate model is not a new phenomenon, but as the level of revenue in college sports has reached new heights in recent years, critics and plaintiffs lawyers have ramped up their efforts to dismantle the system. What the critics fail to realize is more has been done to benefit college students who play sports in the past five years than was done in the previous 25 years.
If you add up all the benefits student-athletes are eligible to receive these days, it's quite a lot of money. A USA Today analysis determined that the typical Division I men's basketball player receives $120,000 annually in scholarship aid, goods, services and future earnings. The figure does not include the recently passed cost of attendance stipend, which provides many students an additional $2,000-$5,000 annually to cover day-to-day living expenses.
Click here to read the entire op-ed.