Dear Next President,
My name is Bryce Pereira. I am currently a senior in high school and I am a student-athlete. I have been playing tennis since before I could walk. In the hospital on the day I was born, my dad handed me a tennis ball, my parents tell me. If so, a tennis ball is the first thing I ever held.
Since then, I've trained for six years at the National Training Center and have been ranked as high as 11th in the country. I've clocked in countless hours for the past 17 years for the sole reason of getting a college scholarship to a top division 1 program. Successfully, I have chosen to play tennis at UCLA, formerly ranked #2 in the country for tennis. In the Fall of 2017, I will be in playing tennis at a collegiate and a pro level. Yet, I will be restricted to only receiving a certain amount of money each year. This topic has always been in the air but now it will involve me personally because it could affect the way I live these next few years.
The NCAA states that a tennis player may only take at most $10,000 a year in prize money. Currently, at the U.S. Open, the winner gets $3.5 million. Just for winning the first round, you are awarded $43,313 and a lot of top college players have already exceeded their 10K cap and are left with a tough decision. They have to decide if they want to turn down all the money, or take the riskier route and announce that they are turning pro. The number of hours that us student-athletes have dedicated to the court is countless. Yes, student-athletes receive today an athletic stipend that can range from $2000-$5000 a year, but that isn't cutting it. For some of us, the prize money that we earn determines whether or not we will have a meal to eat. It's our job. Living off of $10,000 is not much to survive. For all that we have accomplished with our talents, we should be able to make a decent living off of it AND still be able to have an education at a respectable university. Therefore the NCAA should raise the amount on how much prize money we can receive.
So, next President, I know you can't directly make an impact towards this issue. But, you ARE the President of the United States, your word is more powerful than any of ours. You can address this issue via speech at an event and influence the NCAA to think about and hopefully amend the current rules for prize money. A majority of the student-athletes would side with you. If you do come through with this, it will change the collegiate world for the better and give more college tennis players the freedom to know that their talents don't have a price tag on them.