One of the most controversial questions surrounding collegiate athletics is the degree of professionalism that college sports should be accorded. This is most clearly represented in the debate on whether college athletes should be paid, if so, the amount of salaries, and the degree to which the student athlete is a professional wageearner or a student. Although the actual question of whether college athletes should be paid seems basic, there are a multitude of other issues involved. For instance, with the present system the athletes are not paid a salary, but often receive large amounts of financial assistance from the host university. As well, these athletes are often part of large recruiting packages that may well include living allowances, transportation stipends, funds for tutors and travel, as well as other "underthetable" perks such as automobiles, clothing, and vacations.
The evolution of the student athlete in American college sports has been one of trial and error, finally emerging in the 1970s and 1980s as the "business of intercollegiate athletics." These athletic activities, some say, provide public entertainment, increase alumni funding of the host institution, give widespread media attention to various schools, and prepare student athletes for careers in the world of professional sports (Sojka 17).
However, with the business of intercollegiate athletics comes many questions and problems most of which deal in the sociological realm of ethics in activities, funding, recruitment, and the like.
One of the most outspoken supporters of the proposition that student athletes should be paid is Professor George Sage, professor of physical education and sociology at the University of Northern Colorado. Professor Sage believes that since intercollegiate athletics are a major form of entertainment, the talented individuals who participate in that activity should receive adequate compensation ("Should" 56).