Here's To ​Simone Biles, Olympic Champion, Survivor Of Sexual Assault And All-Around Amazing Woman​

Here's To ​Simone Biles, Olympic Champion, Survivor Of Sexual Assault And All-Around Amazing Woman​

Coming forward took great strength for all of the gymnasts involved. Oftentimes, they are seen as indomitable simply because of their sheer power and strength.

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Simone Biles has been a household name in the gymnastics world since 2013. She has racked up an insane amount of awards, earning the titles of three-time world all-around champion (2013–15), three-time world floor champion (2013–15), two-time world balance beam champion (2014, 2015), and, most recently, five-time United States national all-around champion (2013–16, 2018). On the 19th, Biles became the first gymnast ever to win five U.S. all-around titles, after she won every event in the U.S. Gymnastics Championships. This feat, alone, is impressive, but it is even more amazing taking into account that Biles took a two-year hiatus after the Rio Olympics.

Biles is often applauded for her poise, power, and grace out on the floor. But it is the fierceness and humility that she embodies in her work and everyday life that makes her so admirable. In 2017, Larry Nassar — former USA gymnastics team doctor — was convicted of child pornography charges and seven counts of sexual assault of minors... one of those minors being Simone Biles. Aly Raisman was the first gymnast to come forward about the sexual abuse that occurred, with members Maggie Nicols and Mckayla Maroney following closely behind (Biles and Gabby Douglas came forward later). The gymnastics sex abuse scandal rocked the nation, revealing a tightly-kept and dark secret within the industry.

Coming forward took great strength for all of the gymnasts involved. Oftentimes, they are seen as indomitable simply because of their sheer power and strength. Being able to push their bodies to almost superhuman limits falsely conveys the notion that they are invulnerable. But all women and men are at risk and can be targeted at any time, an important point to make in a world that is overwhelmingly consumed in rape culture.

Biles is an amazing role model for girls growing up in this generation. Aside from being a bad-ass gymnast, she shows young girls that there is a multitude of ways to achieve success and fulfillment. Social media has skewed the idea of what it means to be an influencer or to be famous. So many people are obsessed with attention and validation that they go about getting them in the wrong manner. "Trolling," aka deliberately making offensive posts or doing offensive things, has become popular by internet personalities like Boonk Gang, Woah Vicky, and Logan Paul, while young girls idolize Youtubers and Instagram models who are little known for anything other than being pretty or starting drama (Simplynessa15, Chandler Alexis, Tana Mongeau, etc.). Biles shows girls that hard work is rewarding and that they can be successful doing things they love, not things meant to shallowly draw attention.

Not only that, but Biles, and every other female gymnast, challenge traditional beauty standards and the narrative of what it means to be beautiful or feminine. Today's society is obsessed with being "thicc," which is unrealistic and impossible for many women. Biles shows girls what an actual healthy body looks like. We claim to be obsessed with fitness and being in shape, but oftentimes we worry so much about getting a bigger butt or bigger boobs that we don't place any importance on living an actual healthy lifestyle.

Even worse, we narrow-mindedly believe that large muscles are signs of masculinity. Not only that, but we kill ourselves trying to always be perfect: we need the perfect hair, makeup, outfit, selfie, etc., simply because we think anything less than perfection is not worthy. Among many other well-known girls her age, Biles is one of the few that posts pictures with messy hair, basic outfits, and subpar lighting. She isn't concerned with being perfect because she's unapologetically herself and she knows that's worth enough.

No, Simone Biles is not "thicc," nor does she always look like a perfectly polished model. But she is still unbelievably athletic, thriving, and beautiful inside and out... something that girls need to be constantly reminded of. Fulfilling beauty standards is not the only way for you to be seen or validated, and it is not a determinant of your worth.

simonebiles / Instagram

Female gymnasts have been breaking barriers and inspiring others for years, and Simone Biles is no exception. Now, more than ever, we need more women who are strong, full of integrity, and unapologetically themselves.

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Why College Athletes Should Not Be Paid

Dont they already get enough?
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Throughout the years big name college athletes have been trying to get six-digit numbers in their bank account before making it to the pros. What they do not understand is that college is not a place of work and that it is meant to further education for a future career. Also, no college, big or small, has enough money to pay them. They have to pay to build facilities, pay coaches, give scholarships, and pay athletic directors to make sure that the school has the best chance of winning. Despite the fact that most athletes do not have money to get by while they are in college, schools do not gain enough revenue back from the money that they put into their sports programs. They are technically already paid with a free education due to their scholarship, and all of the different sports would not be able to be paid the same amount.

If colleges were to pay their athletes, there would not be as much money to go around for any of the other things like the facilities or the coaches. Not only do colleges not have enough money, but it would also defeat the purpose of going to school. If athletes were to start getting paid, it would give people a reason to talk about paying other students in the school. “If we pay the athletes maybe we should also do it for the first violinist in the school orchestra, or the lead actor in theatrical productions, and perhaps popular professors should allocate course enrollment slots to those students who bid the highest" according to Andrew Zimbalist of theatlantic.com. It would also make the cost of college more expensive. The money would have to come from somewhere. That would just make it harder for a regular student to attend a college. According to star.txstate.edu, it would be really unfair to the other students. Some if not all college athletes are already on scholarships, so why should they be paid like they are professionals? Many college athletes argue that since they do not have time to get jobs that they should be paid by the university so that they can have extra money to spend. What they do not realize is that the average college student is middle class and has to pay their way through school. It is not that since they do not play a sport they have money to spend. These students would kill to have their school paid for and all they would have to worry about is their grades.

It would really ruin the culture of college sports. College students love college sports because the athletes are students just like they are. The athletes are in classes and are seen on campus. They are a part of the school's community. Money would separate the athletes from the student body. It would make them seem like they are the most important people at the school.

Another thing is that some athletes do not stay in school the four years to earn their degrees, so they will take up classroom space for one or two years and it is free. Some athletes don't even deserve the education that they are being given. For example, the valedictorian of my high school class really wanted to go to Georgetown. She got in, but tuition was over $75,000 a year, yet there are athletes that go to this school for free and probably do not have the grades to even be there. Former NBA star Allen Iverson who barely graduated high school and will tell you himself that he hated school, got to go to Georgetown for free, and he only stayed for one year.

Forbes.com was also able to bring up some good points. Football and basketball are the two sports that most people think of when it comes to athletes being paid. What about the other sports? Athletes participate in sports like soccer, tennis, golf, baseball, volleyball, track and field. They work just as hard as football and basketball players, but just because they do not generate as much money they have to be treated differently than the people that work out in the same facilities as they do. Even if it were possible for athletes to be paid they should all be paid the same. Some people claim that football and men's basketball should be the only sports to be paid because those are the sports that generate the bulk of the revenue. This would be violating the federal Title IX law. This law stipulates equal compensation for male and female athletes. Besides the issue of paying the participants of every sport, there is also the issue of everyone being paid — should you just pay your elite athletes or the whole team? How much would you pay players? Is it one set amount for every athlete, or will there be pro-like contracts? If you let athletes get paid for endorsements, will it give some programs unfair advantages? If someone plays for a school like Alabama they are more likely to get an endorsement than if they were playing for a school like Tulsa. It is the same issue with allowing profit off merchandise sold with their name or number. Playing for Florida would give a better opportunity to make a profit off of merchandise than playing for Western Michigan.

Also, imagine a coach trying to discipline a college player if they were paid. Even if they know they messed up all they would care about is the money. Paying them would affect their character and it would affect the way they act if they were to go out in the real world and play professionally. College teaches you about life and tells you to be disciplined. It is hard to be disciplined when you are getting paid a lot of money.

One thing that may surprise the reader of this paper is that most colleges, even the big name ones, do not even make the money back that they put into their sports programs. Despite all the tickets, merchandise, and memorabilia that these big name universities sell, they cannot break even. According to theatlantic.com, the average FBS athletic program ran a $9.44 million operating deficit. This brings up the question where would the money come from?

While researching on forbes.com only 14 athletic programs are generating a profit without having to rely on institutional support like student fees. Ohio state university needs over $22 million from the booster club in order to balance. OSU could ask the boosters for money to pay the players, but what would a school like Western Kentucky do? They already spend 5.6 million on grants-in-aid and it takes 8.2 million from the university to balance their budget. How would they pay their players?

One thing that shocked me while I was doing research on thestate.com was that the athletes that are basically impoverished receive a federal supplement every semester. It is called Pell Grant money. Qualified college athletes receive up to $5,645 put in their bank accounts a year. The athlete can choose to spend this money in any way they want. So it is pretty much up to them to be smart with it and not blow it on something stupid. This money is meant to help athletes from impoverished backgrounds live like average students without hardship.

Dawn Staley, the South Carolina women's basketball coach grew up in the Philadelphia projects. She earned a full scholarship to Virginia where she qualified for the maximum amount of Pell Grant money. “Things came up. I didn't have much when I went to school. When you see other people with things, you're a kid, you want them. If you don't have them, you don't feel like you're having the full experience of being in college." Staley's example from two decades ago still applies today. The athletes that need it the most are taken care of through Pell Grants. They do not need the extra money. These grants are distributed based on the annual income of an athlete's family. The lower the income the higher the grant.

Most fans of college sports do not know that the NCAA allows for additional help to athletes through the student athlete opportunity fund. It is intended to provide direct benefits to student athletes or their families as determined by conference officers. Some of the benefits include non-athletics related health expenses that are not covered by an athlete's insurance plan, travel expenses for an athlete to attend funerals or family emergencies, and a $200 annual clothing allowance, as long as Pell Grants are available.

A big reason college athletes should not be paid is simply because they are not professionals. College athletes are people that are trying to get to the pros and therefore, are not paid because they have not made it yet. Since these players are in college, they should never be paid to play their sport. College sports are just like another class. College students pick something that they want to major in so that they can learn and start a career. College sports should be treated the same way. “I am a broadcast journalism major and no one pays me to set up interviews, anchor a show or broadcast on the college radio station, U92 FM. The reason why no one pays me to do any of that is because I am learning my field in order to get paid when I get a job. In college sports you play to get to the pros, not to earn a paycheck as a student." says Josh Cooper of bdlsports.net. What people forget about college athletes is that they are student athletes. The word student comes before athlete. No one in college gets paid to get an A+ or pass an important test. College is a place where you learn to grow up and how to manage your life.

The biggest reason why college athletes should not be paid is that having a scholarship is technically a form of pay. No, the athlete does not get that money to spend on whatever they want, but the most important thing is paid for. The average college student would kill to have their school already paid for. Not only does a college athlete have a chance to go pro in a sport but they have a chance to finish a degree, which can be used if the pros do not go as planned.

While reading an article by John Rocker from wind.com I discovered that college athletes also have the opportunity to meet the boosters of the schools that they play for. A school's boosters club is made up of alumni that give a lot of money to the school. They most likely own their own businesses. This is another job opportunity for an athlete. If the pros do not work out the booster could remember the athlete's buzzer beater against their rival and give them a job.

In closing, there are too many questions that need to be answered and too many issues that would arise from college athletes getting paid. A college athlete has a ton of privileges and opportunities. There is no reason why they should be paid. Their school is free, they have a chance of getting a job if the pros don't work out and there is just not enough money to go around.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube
Cover Image Credit: Post and Courier

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