Sports fans love college sports in America. College football in the fall and college basketball during March Madness can be a way of life for many universities and towns across the country.

The love of college sports has accelerated through the years. The great positive growth as led the way for the NCAA, the most powerful governing body in college sports, to take advantage of the opportunity and capitalize on the financial windfall. The NCAA has created strict guidelines for the athletes while the organization and its leaders have raked in big paychecks on the backs of these student-athletes. The institutions and coaches of the student-athletes have earned millions.

For the first time a movement to pay college athletes has come into existence. Former college athletes have been exploited, to say the very least. Organization leadership is of the belief that the athletes receive educational scholarships worth thousands of dollars, depending on the schools they attend.

However, those NCAA athletes do not receive any extra living expenses. They are limited by ridiculous NCAA rules. Many of these athletes are from poor families and have difficulty providing any financial assistance to the students. Many of these athletes could not afford to go to college but for the assistance of an athletic scholarship.

A part-time job is out of the question because of the time constraints. They are consumed with time requirements of their sport and their classwork. Playing sports in college is equivalent to a full-time job, particularly at the Division I level.

The NCAA has fallen short in keeping up with the needs of the student-athletes. Just a few years ago they would not even allow teams to have extra snacks at night. Under a great deal of pressure and common sense, the NCAA has finally changed that rule.

The NCAA has brought in $1 billion on March Madness, and $150 million on major bowl games. The colleges receive more than $500 million for TV rights of college football games. It shouldn’t be difficult to explain why the NCAA finally realized that the people making all this money should be allowed to have a late-night snack on the tab of the member schools.

Former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow did make a good point, however, that if players start playing for pay, the whole dynamics and excitement for college sports could totally change. College sports could become like pro sports with amateurism long gone. As money gets more and more involved, many of the great strengths of college sports will be gone.

Colleges and universities, the coaches and organizations (NCAA) have been greedy for too long. Concern for their own wallets outweighed the changing needs of the athletes.

College athletes have been exploited for too long, but payment to them on the level of a pro athlete seems to defeat the whole representation of college sports. There has to be a compromise somewhere in the middle. Hopefully college sports can continue to provide excitement to fans without money as a key factor, which means everyone will need to give a little.

• The quote of the week comes from English poet Bob Anderson: “There’s nothing so rewarding as to make people realize they are worthwhile in this world.”

– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at t.crone@comcast.net.