It is always brought up as a reason for high school athletes to go to college instead of the pros, but I don’t recall any discussions of what it is. To me, the college experience is a late night tunnel tour, tossing pennies to Tecumseh for good luck, senior ditch day at Caltech, a kiss on the Stanford quad under an October full moon, and igloo bridge after the blizzard of 78.
Bringing it back to sports, it’s a bonfire the night before the big game, and it’s Ralph Sampson walking outside to a shower from his room on the lawn. I doubt that it has anything to do with two-a-days in August. What memories make up the college experience for you? Unless you were a participant, I doubt that any of them have anything to do with the quality of your football or basketball teams.
Paying college athletes may come in under the guise of rewarding the athletes, but to me it has the bad taste of justifying even more sacrifice from the athlete. The football and basketball teams already spend too much time in their own world separated from the general student population.
Community is build upon shared experience, and I want to see the athletes and the students share more, not less. I doubt that Ralph Sampson would have been chosen for a room on the lawn if he was paid.