Last week, the whole Northwestern union story broke and the ugly situation of paying college athletes was again brought up. As you would expect, Pitt, like most schools, isn't real thrilled with the idea. They issued a brief statement last week that said as much.
The Panthers' athletics department weren't the only folks at the university making statements. The Post-Gazette captured some quotes from players on the situation and the responses weren't quite what you probably expected they would be:
Pitt center Artie Rowell said that he had seen the news, but didn’t necessarily agree with the concept of paying players.
"My whole take on players getting paid is you have to take advantage of the intangibles that they offer, such as life skills," he said.
"You go pay-for-play, you’re going to get into the Johnny Manziels and those guys getting way more money than I’m going to get. I don’t know, though. I would like to have more money myself. I think anyone would."
Quarterback Chad Voytik echoed his center, and said that unionization and the Northwestern case weren’t necessarily hot topics in the Pitt locker room.
"Truthfully, I feel like we’re compensated enough," Voytik said. "We get a free education and all that."
Good to hear a pretty level-headed response from those two guys, to be honest. Like Rowell says, would they like to be paid? Sure - no one will turn down free money. But as they both say, there's a fair amount of things that athletes should see that they receive. A free education - even the life skills that Rowell references are extremely valuable.
Like I wrote earlier this week, I wouldn't mind seeing players get a few added perks such as guaranteed scholarships. But when it comes for playing for money, I'm not sure I'll ever be convinced that that's the way to go. Even if that's not the stance you personally take, I think it's refreshing to see some players finding value in what they are getting as compensation and not taking it for granted.
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