NCAA Players Deserve to be Paid

Why Bryce Gowdy's Tragic Death puts pressure on the NCAA to pay the Athletes

Duane Walker
January 02, 2020 - 12:00 am
NCAA President Mark Emmert

© Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

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On Monday, December 30th 2019 Georgia Tech signee Bryce Gowdy’s young life unfortunately ended when he was hit by a train. After a medical exam on Tuesday it has been ruled that Gowdy’s death was caused by suicide. Now, reports are coming out that the Gowdy family was living in poverty, and the pressure on Bryce to make a career out of football became too much for him. 

This tragic story sparked a conversation on the New Year’s Day edition of Sportswrap with Duane Walker. Duane dedicated a big portion of his show to why college players should be paid. While Duane was interviewing former University of Georgia Tight End and current Co-Host of the Midday Show, Andy and Randy, on 92.9 The Game he said that “They are reduced to making instinctual decisions. Do I eat? What do i do to survive? You’re strictly in survivor mode, and it does not have to be this way.” Randy agreed with Duane saying “I always took pride in taking care of my family.” Duane makes the point that a lot of these major college football players come from rough upbringings, and a lot of these players don’t have money coming from their parents. Sure they might be on scholarship and getting a free education, and maybe they have a good meal plan included in their scholarship, so they can eat. However, a lot of these kids know their families are struggling at home, and they know they’re families are counting on them to make it big, so they can provide for their families. It doesn’t matter who you are or how old you that pressure can get to you, especially if you’re a 18-22 year old young adult who doesn’t have any money to give at that very moment, and you know you’re family is struggling to survive while they wait for you to go pro. Just like Duane said it should not and does not have to be this way.

Duane had this solution to offer, he proposed that the NCAA allow sponsors to give money to the student athlete that way he could provide for his family without having to worry about trying to work while being a student athlete, which is basically impossible because of the strenuous schedule, and also his family won’t have to struggle and barely survive for 3 or 4 years while they wait for their child, brother, or cousin to make it to the NFL, NBA or whichever respective sport. Also, this solution as Duane said “won’t cost taxpayers a cent.” Since the money is just coming as a donation from a sponsor it won’t cost taxpayers a dime, and it will not cause tuition to go up for the schools.It’s a win win situation.

The tragic death of Bryce Gowdy just shows that collegiate athletes being paid is much deeper than some players receiving improper benefits, using the money for new shoes, or the latest iPhone. For a lot of these players that money could be the difference between his family eating dinner or going to bed hungry, having running water or not, or even having a home or not. Unfortunately it seems like most of the shotcallers in the NCAA don’t come from the same background as the athletes do, and that is the disconnect that unfortunatley is sometimes the difference between life and death.