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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Money-making college athletes who don’t graduate should reimburse their schools

College football
The USC Trojans and California Golden Bears compete in a college football game in Berkeley.
(Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)

To the editor: College athletes should be allowed to earn income based on their skills and hard work, as a bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom will allow those in California to do.

The fact that they are being recruited by four-year universities, many earning full or partial scholarships as a result, is not enough to sustain someone competing in sports and studying full time so they can earn their degrees.

That said, with the enactment of Senate Bill 206, there should also be accompanying legislation requiring all athletes to reimburse their schools if they do not complete their degrees or leave early to pursue a professional sports career. The reimbursements should go into a non-athletic scholarship fund for students who need or deserve financial aid.

If California allows student athletes to monetize their status, it is only fair that they should be required to compensate the colleges that helped them earn a living while being given the opportunity to earn a subsidized education. This may also provide another incentive for these athletes to finish what they started and complete their degrees.

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Gene E. Schwartz, San Diego

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To the editor: Columnist Bill Plaschke humanely demonstrates the simplicity behind the theory that people should be entitled to fair and equal payment for their work and extraordinary talents, especially if they are used to publicize and create revenues for the organization they “work” for.

And yes, this is work, this is employment, this is sacrificing your body and even your education.

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The bill might even encourage more students to study and train harder for the chance to become part of an organization that respects and values the enormous contributions that these young athletes make.

Chris Johnson, Los Angeles

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To the editor: This is insulting and degrading to what education ought to mean. We have sunk to new lows.

Do the cheering crowds know what these so-called students are missing by devoting so much of their time to athletics? And, what percentage of these students go on to earn huge amounts of money in professional sports? How many live lives of pain and physical dysfunction for the sake of a very short athletic career?

I wonder how much the meaning of an education has changed for some people. Football, the most visible college sport, is very demanding, whereas getting an education builds a better future.

Beverly Franco, Monterey Park


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