I agree fully with the Sept. 15 N&O editorial “Not OK at OK State” on the unjust treatment of college athletes playing major sports that bring big bucks to athletic programs, athletic directors, coaches, the NCAA and TV networks.
Players should receive a stipend and full medical insurance including disability coverage. Furthermore, during their playing eligibility, they should not be required to take a four-year degree program. They can take remedial courses in preparation for a degree program and, if qualified, optionally take degree-program courses during the offseason.
At the end of their playing eligibility, if they do not receive an offer from a professional team, they should receive a full scholarship toward a degree. If they do play a professional sport and did not earn a degree, they would then receive a full scholarship toward a degree when they end their professional career. All the costs of these benefits should be borne by the college athletic programs.
Considering recent scandals such as those at UNC, it’s time to recognize that major college sports programs are minor leagues for the professionals. Treating players appropriately is simple justice and would eliminate the temptation to cheat to keep players eligible.