NCAA Athletes Must Be Paid Before the System Crumbles

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There is this romantic notion out there that student athletes should play for the love of the game and an education. I understand that, but this is real life. The NCAA and member universities around the nation are exploiting their best athletes and offering pennies on the dollar in return. Believe me, the term exploitation is not too strong a word. It is a business and they are fully taking advantage of their "employees."

Let's look at Florida State quarterback, and 2013 Heisman trophy winner, Jameis Winston. He is arguably the poster child for why student athletes deserve rewards for their athletic prowess. Florida State University, the NCAA, and all the memorabilia collectors out there are making millions off of his likeness. Why shouldn't he get a share of that profit?

Yes, I know he's getting an education. Currently, he'd likely be the first pick in the NFL draft, which would net him a several million dollar contract if he were allowed to move to the NFL. The problem is that athletes like him make too much money for their employers. The NCAA and its member universities can't allow such an asset to leave so soon. Because of this, they've made this crazy rule that he has to stay under their control for another year.

Meantime, they'll make much more money off of him. Should he blow out his knee or shoulder, tough luck. There's no empathy there. His stock would plummet and the university could very well rescind his scholarship. Heck, they'll do it to athletes who just aren't living up to their standards without regards to the kid's future.

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