Old pros go to college

What is an amateur? In old-time parlance, it was simply athletes who did not receive monetary compensation for their participation in an athletic pursuit.

For decades, that line has been winked at as athletes received educations valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars in return for their participation in sports that bring universities millions of dollars.

It was a win-win deal. The athlete got the education, the university received the dollars – which, in turn, were used to educate other students.

So, how do you discipline coaches and athletes whose violations of collegiate rules have actually benefited other students?

The answer, simply, is you do not. We disagree with the coaches like Lou Saban of Alabama who have proposed that coaches pay – out of their own outrageous salaries – a stipend per game per player.

What must be done is that all athletes need to understand that their scholarship, or tuition supplement, has a value. They are being compensated for participation in sport.

And if they want more, then they need to leave the collegiate ranks and negotiate on the basis of being a pro.

The purest kind of sport is amateur sport. Scholarships already dilute that purity. To go further – and directly compensate collegiate athletes for their participation – is to do away with the concept, and spirit, of amateurism.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.