By Shawn Muller–

CHICAGO (CBS) When Tim Tebow was the quarterback for the University of Florida, there was no bigger sports figure in the town of Gainesville, and quite possibly, the entire state of Florida.

It was hard not to like the kid-even if you disliked the Gators–because he did everything in his power to make sure he was as “squeaky clean” as possible.

I mean, he spent time during his summer’s to help kids in third world countries get proper medical care for Pete’s sake! Seriously…if you had a problem with a guy like Tim Tebow then you are probably someone who also likes to burn ants with a magnifying glass, kick puppies, or trip elderly people.

He was/is a good kid and represented the University of Florida with dignity and class.

And he did it all for “free” and without complaint.

I used quotations around the word “free,” because we all know that most big-time college athletes get full-ride scholarships to attend school. When you take into account all of the room and board, books, food, and miscellaneous items…the total “compensation” for a student-athlete is well over $100,000 in most cases (and much more in many others).

College football players know what they are signing up for when they commit to play for a university. They know they are not entitled to any sort of salary or extra benefits for their performance on the field…no matter how much money they bring in for the school.

They are amateur athletes and are treated as such.

But is it time to start looking into giving the student-athletes a little piece of the pie?

For the longest time, I had been adamant that college football players should not be paid.

I, like many other college graduates out there who were not on scholarship, know that not having to pay back student loans because our college education was completely paid for would have been wonderful.

Being able to start my post-college life completely debt-free would have been unbelievable.

But now…after seeing players like Tim Tebow, who helped bring in millions and millions of dollars to the University of Florida, I am beginning to change my tune on the matter.

I am not saying that I think they deserve to make thousands of dollars a month, but I do think they deserve something.

Imagine this: you are a star player for your school. Your face is plastered on every magazine and billboard, your jersey is a top-seller, and you can’t go anywhere without being hounded by fans. You are living the life of a famous actor, or a professional athlete, but your wallet is as empty as the devils’ soul.

Wouldn’t you begin to feel a little “used?” Wouldn’t you begin to feel that you deserve to see some of the money that you are “making” for the organization you are playing for?

I would. And even the most staunch old-schooler himself would be lying if he said otherwise.

I am glad to see that the NCAA (and the B1G Conference in particular) is starting to look into this issue with seriousness instead of just a passing interest because I think it could be good for all parties involved…as long as it doesn’t get too close to mirroring a “minor league.”

I know street agents and handlers will always be around.

I know side payments and $100 handshakes will not go away.

I know the “dirt” will never be completely washed away from amateur athletics.

But if giving the players a little spending money will help abate the problems we are hearing about seemingly every day in college football lately: from Cam Newton and his father’s “pay for play” scheme, the allegations against Oregon for paying “scouts” to sway potential recruits, to the recent mess in Columbus, Ohio with players from Ohio State University, then I am all for it…

At least for now anyways…

Do you agree with Shawn? Post your comments below.

shawn muller 2 9 Muller: Is It Finally Time To Pay Student Athletes?

Shawn Muller

Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at Read more of his blogs here.

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