Will Houston Athletes Ever Get Paid to Play in College?

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TaShawn Thomas dreams of one day becoming a professional after college. He's a junior and a forward on the University of Houston's men's basketball team. Without his scholarship he wouldn't be in college, he says. With the money he receives his housing and food are paid for. Still, he thinks it would be fair for athletes to get paid while in college because they bring a lot of money to the school.

The debate on whether or not a college athlete should get paid won't seem to die down anytime soon. In January football players from Northwestern University tried to start a union seeking more financial benefits. The players came together to try to prove they are employees of the university and that they should be compensated as college athletes recognized by the National Labor Relations Board.

"The overwhelming majority of student-athletes, across all sports, participate in college athletics to enhance their overall college experience and for the love of their sport, as opposed to a desire to be paid to play college sports," Donald Remy, NCAA Chief Legal Officer said in an email. "The NCAA is not a part of the proceeding, but it is our hope that after reviewing the record, the NLRB will agree with Northwestern that student-athletes are first and foremost students of the university, not employees."

Last month a judge ordered settlement talks between a former college basketball player and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. This case adds to the fact that more and more athletes are pushing to get paid while in college. In 1996 Ed O'Bannon played basketball for the University of California, Los Angeles. He filed a lawsuit four years ago against the NCAA for restrictions on player's receiving compensation. Several other former players who also thought they should've been paid are also listed as plaintiffs in this case. They want the NCAA to pay up for using their likeness and name in video games long after they have stopped playing for the school. The case is set to go to trial in June.


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