By: Kyle Tooley ~Sports Editor~
The injury to Edmond Sumner can only be described as devastating, and it’s for more reasons than one. Sumner’s draft stock took a hit, the team got worse and, at the end of the day, a person who loves to compete lost that right.
But Sumner’s injury only adds to the argument that has been gaining momentum over the past few years: pay college athletes.
The idea of paying someone who brings in revenue to a business (yes, college athletics is a business) is not rocket science or remotely far-fetched. If you were the top salesman at your company, you would probably get a raise or a promotion.
College athletes, however, don’t see a dollar.
Sure, they get a “free college education,” which is definitely valuable, but when does the title “free” wear off ? When you factor in their practice schedules and the rigor of classes, it seems a little more like a job than a “free ride.”
Not to mention these athletes could be seen as the most valuable people on campus. Athletics are in general. There is a reason that the strength and conditioning coach at the University of Iowa makes more than its school president. Because, as my favorite tweet of all-time says, “they don’t sell out arenas to watch people do math.”
Why do you think ESPN and other media outlets make such a big deal about high school recruiting? The top players have the ability to turn programs around and instill a winning culture that hasn’t been seen before. The only people who pay as much attention to the recruiting cycle as the athletic department is the admissions office.
Applications to enroll at Xavier reached its peak last year the day after Xavier beat top-ranked Villanova. That isn’t a coincidence.
Where does Sumner fit into all of this? Well, he was probably on his way to the NBA at the end of the season, as he was a projected first round pick in a lot of mock drafts. But, after an ACL tear, he’ll be lucky if an NBA team even works him out. Sure, he could always go pro next season, but what if the knee never heals? What if he never regains that explosiveness?
Xavier University needs players like Edmond Sumner far more than Edmond Sumner needs a school like Xavier University. And it is not even remotely close. With players going from high school to Europe before they head to the NBA, what’s the point of going to school? If the NBA were your destination, why would you not go to China and make money rather than go to school?
If the NCAA refuses to pay college athletes moving forward, this will be the trend. With the NBA having a rule stating that players must be one year removed from high school in order to be draft eligible, fewer and fewer of the top tier players will go to school, choosing to take the Emmanuel Mudiay route and play in some European league.
Get with the times, NCAA. If my adviser tells me to not take an unpaid internship, how can the NCAA get away with not paying the school’s biggest moneymakers? You never know when your career could be over.
Just ask Sumner.