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Should student-athletes be given “hazard pay” for participating in the 2020 season?

If there is one, of course.

NCAA Football: Gator Bowl-Indiana vs Tennessee
Student-athletes will be taking on more risk than usual if they decide to play in 2020.
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Right now, we’re supposed to be dissecting summer rosters and talking about players staying out of trouble when they’re not involved with football and staying healthy during offseason workouts.

Instead, we are still pondering if there will be a 2020 season.

Conferences like the Big 10 and Pac-12 have reduced their schedules to conference-only matchups. Other conferences, like the SEC, will meet soon in order to determine if they will repeat the Big 10’s and the Pac 12’s actions. Right now, nothing is guaranteed in terms of collegiate sports in 2020.

However, some student-athlete scholarships are guaranteed if they decide to sit out the 2020 season because of reasons related to COVID-19. The Ivy League has said that students will not lose a year of eligibility after the league decided to ditch all fall sports and schools like Indiana and Iowa are saying that they will practice the same standard.

That’s obviously a good thing and it’s the right thing to do, but missing a year of eligibility may be the lesser of the potential outcomes. I mean, imagine if the Coronavirus was here at this time last year. What if Joe Burrow decided to sit out in 2019? Do you think he has the same success this year? How much would that affect his draft stock in 2021? The same goes for any other student-athlete who is looking to go pro after this year. Missing out on playing time could severely effect their future.

There’s obviously more risk involved for the actual student-athletes who decide to take the field. Sure, the younger population is less susceptible to the Coronavirus —even though there have been plenty of cases where healthy, young people have died from COVID-19— but what if a student-athlete gets it and it affects them more than another? What about their family? We still don’t know the long-term effects. What if they develop something down the line from the disease that affects them later in life? And of course, what if an athlete dies from contracting the virus?

Student-athletes are made well-aware of the risks that come with their respective sports in the first stages of their careers, but 2020 is a completely different animal. Tearing your ACL is one thing, but potentially being placed on a respirator in the ICU (or dying) is something that no one wants to see or go through.

And all of this may happen while the NCAA sits back and collects their cash. If there were ever a time to pay student-athletes, then 2020 would most certainly be it.

The NCAA shouldn’t overcomplicate this. It’s hazard pay. When a construction worker works in an environment with more risk than your typical job, you pay them more. Not just because that’s the standard, but, who else are you going to find to do the work?

Hazard pay is a natural occurrence. Except this time, the environment with the added risk will be arenas, stadiums, gyms, or wherever else these kids decide to take part in the sport they love.

And who knows? Maybe offering the kids a slice of the pie would encourage them to play in 2020, which would help keep the product at its most optimal level.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see how everything develops as the league year draws closer and closer.

What do you think? Should the NCAA give student-athletes a cut of the revenue for participating in the 2020 season? Let us know via the poll/comments below!


Should the NCAA pay student-athletes "hazard pay" in 2020?

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