Big Ten Conference Paying Athletes?

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The Big Ten conference is regarded by many as a league that lives in the past. A run first football conference that hangs it’s hat on legends and traditions. But a new, revolutionary proposal by the league could be a step towards the future of college athletics.

Conference officials are discussing a proposal that would pay athletes to help cover living expenses on top of their scholarships during the league’s spring meetings this week.

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The concept seems promising. It would bridge the gap between what athletic scholarships pay and the other expenses athletes need like clothes and transportation, a difference that has been estimated by ESPN between $2000 to $5000 per player.

This step by the Big Ten could fix what I believe is one of the many issues with the NCAA: Psuedo-Slavery.

Think about it. The organization brings in billions upon billions in revenue every year, yet the players who bring home the bacon don’t get any cut! Players instead are held in a restricted bubble of limitations. They can’t receive gifts or have anything bought for them, not even a meal! If it happens, the higher ups rain down fire and brimstone upon the athlete and their respective athletic program. Too make things worse, players aren’t permitted to have a part-time job.

So how do they make any money? They don’t. They go out everyday in the hot summer sun and punish their bodies…for free. On gameday, they work. The NCAA profits. If they don’t abide by the NCAA’s rules, they’re punished severely. It’s slavery.

This proposal is a small step in the right direction, but something in me wonders if this isn’t an attempt by the Big Ten to get back their national ‘swagger’ so to speak in football.

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I’m a huge Big Ten football fan, so what i’m about to say is going to hurt. The SEC is the best conference in college football, and there’s a reason for it.They dominate in national recruiting. How is it that a new SEC team wins the conference every year, and seemingly by default, the national championship? Because the best athletes go to the SEC schools. ALL SEC schools get big time players. The prestige of the conference alone is the reason why the Mississippi States, Auburns, Ole Misses and Arkansas can be so successful. Compare that to the Big Ten, where only a select few teams like Ohio State and Penn State can pick up recruits outside of the midwest.

But if players can get pay stipends for playing in the Big Ten it would no doubt shift the recruiting landscape. If given the choice to play in the SEC for free or play in the Big Ten and get payed for it, many would choose the latter.  At least, I know I would. This would be a corrupt way to get a leg up on the competition, so the NCAA will have to lay down some rules as to how much players get payed. It’s also likely the organization would expand benefits to players in ALL conferences.

Either way, a huge change may be coming to college athletics soon. Definitely a story i’ll keep monitoring.

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