March Madness causes student athletes to miss class

It’s that time of the year again as March Madness is coming to a close. No matter what team takes home the title, hundreds of student athletes still missed large chunks of class.

This time of the year also inevitably brings up the question: are student athletes being exploited? And an answer never seems to be decided on.

The student athlete issue has long plagued college sports. These athletes are supposed to be students first, but they regularly miss class for games. They’re not supposed to accept gifts or money, but between practice and games, there is no time for a part-time job. The problem seems to go deeper than just the rules: it’s in how we think about collegiate-level athletes.

Freshman Cadence Keeten thinks student athletes should not receive stipends.

“They are amateur athletes,” Keeten said. “Scholarships are fine because (they) help with education, but once they get paid, that makes them professional.”

Freshman Julie Nolte agreed.

“Paying college athletes wouldn’t give a big separation between college and pro,” Nolte said. “Also, it would hurt recruitment for smaller schools, because people will go to the schools that pay more.”

Paying student athletes could cause a lot of problems, but not paying them seems to be causing just as many. The system is broken. The NCAA, colleges and coaches make significant amounts of money, but athletes get scholarships. Is that enough?

Sophomore Samuel Podrebarac doesn’t think so.

“Student athletes have such a tight schedule with games, practices and classes that they don’t have time to get a job,” Podrebarac said. “I have a few friends that play baseball. They say they take mostly online classes.”

As college sports become increasingly popular, the issues surrounding them will only continue to grow. If there is optimum time to examine the system and fix these problems before they become endemic, that time is now.