I run track at UWSP. Our season goes from October 19th until May 15th. Out of season, but during the school year, about 1-2 hours a day. After practice starts until the actual season in January, about 3.5-4 hours a day. Once the season starts its the same during the week, about 3.5-4 hours a day. But for meets, which can be Thursday-Saturday or just on Saturday, it's a hell of a lot more. It depends on how far we travel for the meet, or if we take a bus or plane. So during the season I would estimate the sport takes up anywhere from 30-45 hours a week.
I was not good enough to do anything more than JUCO baseball for two years, but with travel time, each away game day was at least 11 hours and home games were 7 with travel being the difference. Although, many away games were longer than an hour and a half away.
On non game days, we spent probably 2-3 hours practicing which wasn't much, but the game season ran from mid-March to mid-May. Usually (for away games), I would have to be at school by 8 a.m. and wouldn't get home from the game until 8 or 9 p.m.. That's a lot of time at school and with sports.
I can only imagine university athletes (at much bigger schools) being even worse with offseason programing and in-season requirements. We were actually given tons of leeway on when and how long to work out on our own. Bigger sports that draw in the money (mostly football, but basketball too) I think those athletes should be compensated, if only a grand or two a month in cash.
A lot of athletes at school come from poorer families, and although they are getting free room and board and an education, they still would like to send something home to their parents or buy their girlfriend's/boyfriends nice presents once in a while - especially around the holidays with getting family members gifts.
I would not be against this at all. To think the NCAA makes BILLIONS of dollars a year from ticket and apparell sales, along with advertising dollars and TV deals, they could spare a little more than having the schools give away JUST a free education. I think the schools should pick up the education and rooming tab, but the NCAA compensate with paying players at least minimum wage for the time they spend in the sport. If coaches already (outside of RichRod) are documenting hours of activities, then that would be like each players' time-card. And all the players get paid the same, so someone doesn't choose one school or another based on pay. And all the same rules would be held as far as taking booster money and whatnot - athletes could only get paid by the NCAA.
Does that make sense? Even if the NCAA payed football and basketball players 1K a month and all the other sports 500, I don't think it would be a problem. At least at D-1. And maybe the conferences would pick up part of the tab as well.
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