The following article is old (almost five years) but it is the kind of article that could be posted for the next twenty years and it would still be relevant. I thought about posting it today as I watched all those athletes bust their asses for their schools, while their well paid coaches pranced along beside the court.
"Editor's Note: The nation's top college basketball and football athletes earn millions for their schools, but see very little of it. And yet these so-called "student" athletes have little time for their studies and often earn no academic degree.
It's an exploitative system that must be changed, the writer says.SAN FRANCISCO--With the 2005 collegiate football season underway, African-American athletes are exciting the crowds, drawing in thousands of fans and driving up revenues from TV and radio coverage. And they're being exploited. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) pretends that elite African American athletes filling the stadiums and arenas are student-athletes. In reality the majority of top players, like quarterback Vince Young of the University of Texas and running back Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma University, are first and foremost athletes. Their lives center on practice fields, not classrooms. Coaches dictate their schedules, which are packed with meetings, practices, lifting weights, rehabbing injuries and travel.
Economists Todd Jewell and Robert W. Brown in the late 1990s calculated that athletes of the caliber of Young and Peterson generate $500,000 per year for their universities. It's even more today, considering revenues from college basketball's March Madness, a six-year, $11 billion contract with CBS, and the Bowl Championship Series on ABC, at $500 million over eight years. Premier basketball players generate over $1 million a year.These players are being exploited, receiving only a few thousands in scholarship money while earning enough cash for their universities to provide substantial salaries to a cast of coaches, trainers, administrators and support personnel for non-revenue generating sports such as golf, soccer, lacrosse, swimming and tennis. Those opposed to paying student-athletes argue that a college education is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Indeed, according to Census Bureau 2002 figures, those with B.A. degrees earn an average of $2.1 million over their lifetime, compared to high school graduates' $1.2 million.Unfortunately, not enough of these "student" athletes earn degrees of any kind. Despite efforts to improve graduation rates, the latest stats from the NCAA show that for black football players who entered college from 1997 to 1998, the graduation rates were 49 percent for each of the two years.
In basketball the rates were 41 and 42 percent. Some elite universities have far lower rates.There are also serious doubts about the quality of these athletes' educations. It is true that they have tutors and compulsory study halls not available to most students. They have the security of scholarships, so there are no financial pressures that force other students to drop out. But even if the black athlete graduates, his degree may not be worth much if he has filled his schedule with less than challenging courses. "
So is Donal Brown right? Are the NCAA schools pimping these young men? Personally, I think some of these coaches are doing just that. When you see coach K crying over losing his kids to graduation, it's not because he is happy that they are going out into the world with a Duke degree. No, he is crying because his basketball team will be losing a great player. Coach K and the NCAA well be fine, thanks to CBS and other corporate sponsors they are swimming in money.
Still, these student athletes have to remember that there is a student before the word athlete, and they should be realistic about their chances of playing the sport they love for money. They need to make the best of their college experience and get their degrees. I know that their pim....I mean coach is always in their ears to watch game films and practice, but they have a bigger responsibility to themselves than to their coach and old State U.
Wouldn't it be nice to hear a coach tell a kid that he should put in as much time in the library as he does at the free throw line? It would be nice, but ain't ever gonna happen. Coach has too much to lose, and he can't stand the risk of having his most valuable commodity forget why he needs him in the first place.