Editor's note: Earlier this month, Penn State assistant football coach Jay Paterno authored a thought-provoking essay on the topic of paying college athletes. His words stirred conversation around the country and among two ESPN Insider authors in particular.
With the hope of continuing the conversation on compensating college athletes, Insider is taking a closer look at Paterno's argument over the next two days. In two-part series, Doug Gottlieb endorses Paterno's stance. Jay Bilas present a counterpoint.
While there is a sudden clamoring for universities to pay their players, I feel otherwise based on my time as a student athlete and even after I left campus.
As Paterno points out in his column, while college players are not paid directly, they receive a tremendous amount of benefits that aid them during, and after, their time on campus. It starts with "comped" campus visits in high school and continues with tutoring, preferred class registration, choice housing arrangements and, of course, the ability to walk away with a degree and without an ounce of debt to your name. That's something that can't be understated since, per this article, overall student loan debt is actually greater than credit card debt in our country.
While many argue the unjustness of colleges profiting off of their athletes, they ignore the fact players often benefit from their schools after they leave. When you play big-time basketball or football, people want to hire you. You are a known commodity and, like the colleges, businesses too would like to profit from your presence -- and compensate you in kind. In truth, while colleges make money off the 18- to 22-year-olds for the years they are on campus, those same players live off the recognition of the school or coach they played for for the rest of their lives.
To read more about why Doug Gottlieb doesn't think college athletes should be paid, you must be an ESPN Insider.