I was on drugs for my regular weekly segment with Chris Berg on Valley News Live last night. I’ve been fighting a head cold all week, and I took a dose of Nyquil before the show (it’s all we had) hoping that it would counteract my stuffy nose and cough quicker than the drowsiness kicked in. The results were…mixed.

Still, it was a fun show, and we covered a lot of fun topics. Berg wanted to do our segment in a more rapid-fire session where we react to topics with time limits. I didn’t hit the time limits so well, though, as I couldn’t hear the buzzer on my end.

Paying College Athletes – I think college athletes should be compensated. The idea that these players are just normal students who happen to be athletes is a bit ridiculous. They are entertainers specifically recruited to these campuses for the economic benefits their talent brings. Sure, they get an education at the institutions they attend which is largely paid for by scholarships, but c’mon. Most of the time for the top-tier athletes the attendance in class is a charade. Their academic programs are watered down, and the degrees they earn aren’t worth anywhere near the benefit their talents brought to the universities. Of course, the problem with paying these athletes is the fact that all but a few of the top-level college programs operate in the red. That’s per numbers reported by the NCAA, and it’s as true here in North Dakota as anywhere else where athletic programs and UND and NDSU cost the university and students millions of dollars per year. If universities have to compensate the players, the financial black hole these programs represent will only get bigger. We’d be better off moving sports off the campus and into their own private leagues.

Legislature Taking Over TuitionAs I wrote earlier this week, the North Dakota University System has used the threat of tuition hikes as a political weapon for far too long. Every cycle we seem the universities making big budget demands for lawmakers, only to turn around and raise tuition on students no matter how much lawmakers commit. It has gone beyond ridiculous, and it’s time someone accountable to voters took over setting tuition levels.

Legalizing Prostitution – I’ve long advocated for legalizing prostitution as a way to undermine sex trafficking operations. I feel like we’re informally moving toward that reality anyway, with law enforcement officers and prosecutors expressing less interest in arresting and convicting prostitutes than in exposing trafficking rings which exploit men, women, and children. I think that’s a common sense shift in priorities, and I’d advocate that we make it official by legalizing willing seller/willing buyer transactions for sexual services between adults. I don’t think consensual prostitution is something law enforcement ought to be troubling itself with. What we need to attack is human trafficking.