March 17, 2015

John Oliver tackles the NCAA and student athletes: In an extended segment on Sunday's "Last Week Tonight", John Oliver delved into the issue of unpaid "student-athletes" and the onerous and exploitative NCAA money machine.

posted by hincandenza to basketball at 12:50 AM - 2 comments

Thought this worthy of SpoFi discussion.

My own take is that it is unconscionable to have these students used as indentured servants for a multi billion dollar organization. They get no actual education- it's a joke to pretend D1 athletes in football/basketball are getting an actual education- and have their lives micromanaged to the point that millionaire coaches can bully and abuse the lives and bodies of young men, discarding them when injury or skill has eroded, yet deny them even a cent in material compensation.

If we care about the "purity" of amateurism, then surely we can't allow huge money for amateur sports. Since the fan intereat- and thus money- is not going away, shouldn't we recognize that the athletes are entitled to compensation for the product they create? It is illegal in the USA to employ some to work without compensation excepting under very limited circumstances (see the DOL rules on "unpaid internships" which are often fluted in the media and entertainment industries ), and there is no reasonable argument these students aren't fulfilling job requirements that cannot be replaced. The only reason we don't just call them minor league athletes is because the schools have engineered a clever scam to exploit young men, with the complicit help of the NFL and NBA who benefit from drafting out of an unpaid talent pool.

posted by hincandenza at 12:58 AM on March 17

I agree with you in general -- they should share in the massive wealth they generate -- but to generalize that D1 athletes in football and basketball get "no actual education" is not true. Plenty of athletes even in the top sports do manage to get a useful degree.

I may be mistaken, but athletes also are afforded the opportunity to finish their degree on scholarship after their eligibility is up. It seems like any athlete who does not get an education is as much to blame for that outcome as the school that exploited his talents in sport.

posted by rcade at 10:13 AM on March 17

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