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Start paying college athletes

Soon after North Carolina defeated Gonzaga in the NCAA men’s basketball championship game in Glendale, Arizona Monday night, the home page for the NCAA website was covered with championship merchandise for sale for the Tar Heels.

The page featured pictures of the student-athletes for the Tar Heels celebrating their sixth national championship in school history with smiles and laughter.

Below that is the NCAA offering championship merchandise for sale in hopes to use player likeness and profitability to increase their profits. As if they need more profits in the first place.

What did North Carolina head coach Roy Williams make for winning the national championship Monday night? The answer is $925,000 in bonuses.

What did the student-athletes get for putting their blood, sweat and tears on the court all season long to earn that championship? The answer is cool T-shirts and hats.

At what point will the NCAA look at this and realize that this is wrong? It may never happen, but student-athletes deserve to be paid based on their likeness and the profitability they bring to their respective universities and the amount of revenue the NCAA reels in from athletic excellence.

Getting a free education at their respective school is technically paying student-athletes, but for some, that isn’t enough.

For many student-athletes who grew up in impoverished neighborhoods, a free education isn’t enough for them to buy food, pay rent, light bills, and many more things. Some athletes crash on couches or sleep in cars to make it through college while the NCAA is profiting off their success on the field.

Student-athletes have received no benefits from their contributions on the field or in he gym. There is a rule by the NCAA that says, “all incoming student-athletes must be certified as amateurs.” A way to directly pay the athletes will be tough to come up with because of the bylaws of the NCAA handbook.

At this point, are Division I student athletes really considered “amateurs”?

The money-grabbing sports — football and basketball — are the closest things to professional athletes that we have and they don’t receive a dime while they risk their bodies and health every day in practice and in the weight room.

When looking at the power five conferences in the NCAA, which includes the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and PAC 12, each universities’ athletic department revenues grew by 50 percent over from 2008-2015.

Seems like a big time money grab I would say.

The NCAA and athletic departments across the country should show care and look out for their athletes and not ignore the type of sacrifices they make on a daily basis.

There is a lack of concern from the NCAA towards athletes while NCAA president Mark Emmert laughs to the bank.

The NCAA paid Emmert $1.9 million in 2014 and his base salary has increased every year. since he’s been president of the NCAA. Something just doesn’t seem right here.

I’m not going to dive deep into the numbers and create a compensation plan that works for the student-athletes and the NCAA. No one has successfully done that yet, but someone will figure out a way to do it. Will it pass through and actually come to fruition? Who knows.

The NCAA makes the majority of its money off television and marketing from the performance of their athletes. It’s time to show more care towards the athletes.

Start paying college athletes.

Dylan Rubino is the sports editor for The Daily Leader. He can be reached at dylan.rubino@dailyleader.com