There are a lot of variables to consider when it comes to paying college athletes for playing sports. Since there are good arguments on both sides of this hash mark, I'm going to play the part of Tevye, from Fiddler on the Roof, who weighed both sides of a dilemma and then I'll give you my answer.

First, a little background: a proposal filed by State Representives Frank Moran (D-Lawrence) and Marcos Devers (D-Lawrence), on behalf of the legislature's Black and Latino Caucuses, supports allowing student-athletes to be compensated. Their reasoning is these student-athletes are generating millions of dollars for the colleges, so it's only fair that they get some of those benefits to help alleviate their financial situations. Their bill would violate current rules by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Enter Tevye from stage right. How do you decide who to pay, and how much? I'd think that only football and basketball are the big money earners. But what about soccer and baseball? And I'm assuming the larger schools like Alabama will pay more than a smaller college, so will schools have bidding wars for the best athletes?

On the other hand, college athletes are students first and foremost. Let's face it, the athletes could lose that incentive to learn and may never go to class. They could easily take on a mindset where the only motive is money. They're in college to earn a degree in a field of employment after their playing years, not to build up their bank accounts.

On the other hand, these athletes are bringing in tons of revenue, so why aren't they getting what they deserve for their labors? Paying college players will also cut down on corruption from shoe and apparel companies and point-shaving for money.

Maybe the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Instead of paying student-athletes directly, follow the model similar to the U.S. Olympic system, where they're allowed to earn money from autographed memorabilia, endorsements, speaking gigs and such.

I do believe they should be able to profit from their own identities and talents. After all, other students aren't restricted from making money from their talents while enrolled in college. It happened with me, working in radio, TV and doing national voiceovers. It happens all the time with students in music, theater, and journalism. Why should athletes be any different?

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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