Wednesday, April 10, 2013

College Sports & Modern Day Slavery?

I did not watch the National Championship College Basketball Game Monday night. Like many nights, I was at work... sigh. I'm working on getting a new job, but anyway-- I also didn't watch because if there is one person who loathes michigan more than me, I have not met them. Ok, maybe I have... she's my mother. I was glad to see that Louisville won (Yay!) Yes, so I wake up Tuesday afternoon (a second shift job will do that to you) and watched Facebook and Twitter timelines light up with references to college sports and slavery. Universities living on the backs of unpaid athletes. These poor, poor kids that are taken advantage of. Uh, no ma'ams... no sirs.

To say that I disagree would be putting it lightly-- too lightly. And I'll tell you why. I have a brother who will more than likely play college sports. Hell, one day, I may be watching him on tv. He plays basketball because he loves it. He knows that basketball could be the avenue to take him to a different kind of life. Trust me, the life he lives now is comfortable- new shoes, clothes, food (always... teenage boys, damn- no food is safe), private school; but a sport has the ability to elevate a very comfortable life to one where millions of dollars are on the table. He, like others, will manipulate his ability to play a sport to get closer to the possibility of a fabulous pay out. I see nothing wrong with that. Colleges and universities will use his ability to come closer and closer to millions of dollars in advertising, alumni contributions and team recognition. I see nothing wrong with that, either.

Student athletes are not allowed to have jobs. Ok, but they are compensated. They get free tuition, a free education, free food. Trust me, free food for teenage boys equals tons of money! And as a person who is beginning to pay back student loans (oh my god, I will be broke for life) believe me when I tell you a free education is nothing to scoff at. A free education is priceless. There is literally no amount that I could put on that. When you think for a moment that some of these athletes are taken from bad environments and given the chance to grow in their sport AND academically (often with FREE help, supplied BECAUSE they are athletes) maybe we should be a little more upset that these athletes do not take full advantage of the universities that give them these scholarships. Maybe we should be more upset about athletes leaving without college degrees vs. being mad at the universities for "pimping" these "poor students."

And yes, I KNOW the NCAA has rules against receiving money. I also know that athletes receive money... from all sources. We all know this game and the rules, don't we? This game brings up no semblance of slavery for me.



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