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College Athletes and Financial Compensation

            The debate as to whether or not college athletes should be compensated for their participation is one that has polarized student athletes, coaches, educators, legislators, and sports fans. With March Madness upon us once again, I find myself pondering this topic. The points on each side of the debate are valid, college sports are designed for amateur student athletes. But, when it comes down to the primary bread-winning sports (revenue producing), namely football and men's basketball, the debate gets more heated. The business of college sports becomes part of the pivotal policy making decisions of the regulatory bodies who legislate college sports and ultimately its participants- athletes and coaches, especially when it comes to football and basketball. But, are there only two sides to this debate? Is the question simply to pay or not to pay? As an avid fan of college sports and weekend warrior athlete, I have examined this debate and developed a potential alternative, hybrid opportunity that would accommodate both academia and athletics.
             Prior to delving into the issues of the present and suggesting solutions for the future, one must first understand the origins of the problem of valuing college student athletes by examining the issues of the past. Football has grown to be an integral part of American culture. Unlike many other iconic sports in America, football grew its popularity in the collegiate setting prior to evolving into a professional sport. New Haven, Connecticut, home to Yale University was the home to the first intercollegiate football game against Columbia in 1872. "Attracting more than 400 fans at 25 cents each, it yielded a gate of approximately $100" (Parks, Quarterman 46-47) This lucrative venture became so popular, that the 1890s saw competition expand to the high school level. "In Louisville, Kentucky nearly 5,000 spectators watched Male High School beat Manual High School on Thanksgiving Day in 1896.

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