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Washington Redskins safety Akeem Davis brought a completely different perspective from the rest of his fellow panel members at Wednesday evening’s discussion on the changing landscape of collegiate athletics and the NCAA at the Shirley Povich Center For Sports Journalism.
Davis was joined by media members and Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson.While they all provided useful input from their varying backgrounds, Davis, who played at Memphis, was the most recent student-athlete.
“You had all these different extremes voicing their different opinions on the landscape of college athletes,” he said. “Man, it was really good. I learned a lot. I learned a whole lot. Mr. Anderson, from an athletic director standpoint…we as student-athletes don’t know what’s going on from their perspective. Of course, I thought we should be paid for everything we did – with all the hours, with all the money the NCAA generates in just televisions deals and all of those things that go into it.”
If student-athletes were to start getting paid in some manner, though, there would be a few added layers to their eligibility that isn’t always brought into the discussion.
“When you start paying an athlete, now you have to tax the athlete,” Davis said. “Now the athlete’s scholarship is not full. It includes room, board and everything, but now you have to pay for all of those things. So now, you’re an employee. It makes things a lot fuzzier than what it is. That shed a lot of light.”
While Davis’ stance on the importance of athletics was pronounced throughout the discussion, he served reminder that education is paramount.
That isn’t always the case with every student-athlete.
“I grew up a house first of all where education is king,” he said. “I think the athletes in our generation undervalue the value of a scholarship. I mean, you set yourself up, put yourself in the position to be successful for a long time, and these days a scholarship gives you a chance, but if you don’t have your degree, you don’t have a chance.”
Davis also said he’s in favor of bumping up stipend amounts.
“Increase the stipend and give them a little more on the stipend side so it gives them whatever they need,” he said. “Let’s find some way to compensate these guys to where you don’t have to pay a tax, pay a penalty. But let’s get the scholarship in place, because at the end of the day you have decisions to make and you need to get your education.”
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