Scandals are everywhere in college athletics. Over the past year, we’ve seen Terrelle Pryor get paid to autograph memorabilia at Ohio State, Cam Newtown get mixed up in allegations that his father tried to bribe Mississippi State and, most recently, that half the Miami football team was enjoying free prostitutes. Anytime a new scandal comes up, someone in the mainstream media, with nothing else to write about, likes to pose the question: Should college athletes get paid?
ESPN and the Wall Street Journal have made a case for paying college athletes and most recently, Taylor Branch, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer joined in on the fun with an insanely long article in the Atlantic. He gives plenty of reasons why college athletes should be paid to play—even comparing student-athletes to slaves—but fails to outline any sort of plan to pull this off. Here’s the main point of his argument…
For all the outrage, the real scandal is not that students are getting illegally paid or recruited, it’s that two of the noble principles on which the NCAA justifies its existence—“amateurism” and the “student-athlete”—are cynical hoaxes, legalistic confections propagated by the universities so they can exploit the skills and fame of young athletes. The tragedy at the heart of college sports is not that some college athletes are getting paid, but that more of them are not.
The basis for many people’s argument, including Branch’s, is that these college athletes are poor and this is why they resort to taking improper benefits. Since the NCAA and big-time Division I schools are profiting from these athletes, aren’t the students entitled to get a piece of the revenue pie?
Can we PLEEEAASE STOP with this argument!? This will NEVER, EVER happen, (more…)