NCAA servitude must end
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 13:02
Student-athletes everywhere are commonly perceived as the kings (and queens) of their college campuses. Traveling around the country and representing their beloved schools in a sport they have grown up to love seems like a dream come true for most of the population. Across tracks and basketball courts around the nation, six-year-old kids everywhere are running hurdles and shooting free throws to kingdom come for their dream of becoming an elite college athlete.
Aside from the glory of being a football or basketball or underwater basket-weaving star, perks galore are bestowed upon the top athletes in the nation. And possibly the most important perk of all is the university’s ability to give their athletic studs the opportunity to get their education for free, or close to it. But is a free ride enough for a student-athlete? Should there be more incentive to play collegiate sports, or is the NCAA already doing enough by allowing for them to get their education without cost?
I was whole-heartedly against paying collegiate athletes when this subject of discussion was first introduced. These guys and gals already get enough by not having to pay for their education, which can equate to $200,000 at some schools. That’s payment enough. Case closed. Thanks for your time. That used to be my mind set on the subject.
But let’s open this up again for kicks and giggles, shall we?
Does the NCAA even have the funds to pay college athletes? Two years ago, CBS/Turner Sports signed a deal with the NCAA for television rights for $10.8 billion. 10.8 B-I-L-L-I-O-N doll hairs. Even a fraction of those hairs would be plenty to distribute to athletes around the world, let alone our great nation.
Paying these players out of the pocket of individual athletic departments to begin with is hardly feasible—in fact, probably impossible—but clearly the NCAA has a hefty chunk of change to share with these kids who assume all of the risk by sacrificing their bodies and time for their sport and school.
These athletes are not only representatives of the NCAA and their schools, but should be considered employees of both. They are the ones doing the work by competing amongst one another while their respective programs receive the monetary benefits of their hard work. That would be completely unacceptable, not to mention illegal, in a work environment for any company out there. But why is that acceptable for the acronym-clad collegiate athletic company that employs these young people and chains them to restrictions that limit their profitability during their college years?
Many of these athletes will not go on to make millions in the professional leagues that their sports affiliated themselves with, if they even have a professional league (sorry softball players). Why would you limit their earning potential at the apex of their career and limit the endorsements and capital gain that they could potentially be receiving while forcing many to wait until the twilight of their years to have any sort of opportunity to make any form of money?
That’s right. Not only can they not make any money through the school for their athletic endeavors while in college, but they also do not have the opportunity to make any money through a part-time job either. These athletes have become modern-day slaves, restricted to the rules of their superiors for their indentured servitude.
Many would reply and say that because they are going to school for free and their room and board is paid for, that this is payment enough. If that is the payment they receive and are not allowed to make any source of outside money, why is acceptable for others outside of athletics to do that exact thing? Let me explain.
Let’s take those on academic scholarship as a prime example. They have earned their free ride by doing well in their concentration of academics; much like the athlete earns his or her free ride in their concentration of their respective sport. Then why is it that the student who is getting the exact same scholarship as the athlete, minus the day-in-and-day-out physical grind of being an athlete, is allowed to have a job outside of school while the other is not allowed to? Should we level out the playing field by disallowing those on academic scholarship from earning any sort of money while in school because the institution already pays for their school? To me, that does not seem reasonable at all. That student has earned their privilege to their free education and should be able to do whatever they’d like outside of the classroom. But not the student-athlete?