Tuesday, Yahoo! Sports broke the story of a University of Miami football booster who showered over 70 players with gifts that included jewelry, electronics, hotel rooms, prostitutes, night club sprees, and cash, breaking multiple NCAA bylaws. A $930 million Ponzi scheme mastermind, Nevin Shapiro hoped to build relationships with the college athletes so that when the time came for them to be professionally drafted, they would sign with Axcess Sports & Entertainment, an agency in which Shapiro owned a 30 percent stake. Shapiro faces a 20 year prison sentence for the Ponzi case, but the damage to the University of Miami football brand has just begun. According to Shapiro, university staff and officials were aware of his inappropriate relationship with the players and neglected plenty of opportunities to address it. [Check out U.S. News Weekly, now available on iPad.]
The scandal also brings up the debate of whether university should pay college athletes; colleges can now, according to NCAA regulation, cover an athlete's tuition, room, board and books. Proponents of paying athletes argue that it would avert the outrageous behavior seen in the Nevin scandal, and considering the massive amount of money athletes bring in for universities, they should be given a piece of the pie. Opponents assert that a free college education (and the opportunities it opens up) is payment enough, that Title IX complicates the issue (would male and female athletes be paid equally?), and that if Nevin’s behavior is what happens when paying athletes is illegal, imagine the kind of gifts athletes would receive it was allowed.
What do you think? Should universities pay their athletes? Take the poll and comment below.
Previously: Should the Media Take Ron Paul More Seriously?