The dirty side of the NCAA: raking in profits and sweeping athletes under the rug

Photo Courtesy of athleticscentral.edu | The NCAA makes billions off of college athletes, yet avoids calls for medical insurance or academic insurance.

Maddy Hubbard ’19
Assistant Sports Editor

“Imagine you’re an English scholar. You write a novel that becomes a best seller, but have to forfeit any profit to the school because you’re already taken care of with paid expenses. Or what if you’re a talented engineering student who builds something as innovative as Facebook in a dorm room, but couldn’t reap any benefits, because you were told the college experience is enough?”  The Nation argues that College Athletes are being asked to do the same thing, giving up profits they could make off of their athletic abilities for a college scholarship. Division I college athletes are putting in 40 to 60 hours of work weekly for their sport and making zero dollars while the NCAA, a billion dollar industry profiting of these athletes. Some former college athletes are pushing to unionize and gain basic rights such as medical insurance and academic assistance.

Although colleges stress that academics come first, they are often dismissed because winning and profits are all that matter.  Many college athletes get pushed towards easier majors so they can focus on athletics. Some colleges have been accused of offering classes that provide easy grades. Many schools are focused on their players as athletes and being a student is an after-thought. Dominique Foxworth, a coach in the NFL states, “Your challenge is to get them eligible. It’s not about educating them.” These students don’t come out with a proper education, so when they don’t end up going professional they are not prepared for a job with any other skills.  The NCAA as a business is not concerned with the athletes as students. So, these students end up missing out on an opportunity to make money off of their athletic abilities in exchange for a college education they don’t receive due to the pressure to perform.

There is a documentary on Netflix “Schooled” that highlights the problems with the way the NCAA treats athletes.  The documentary doesn’t argue that the NCAA needs to change how it deals with the education of its athletes, just that it needs to grant basic rights to them. The documentary is not an argument to compensate the athletes just allow them to sell their skills on the free market. The NCAA uses their skills and fame selling these athletes on March Madness and in Video games, but the athletes don’t receive a dime. If athletes are allowed the autonomy they deserve, they could sign off on personal endorsements and sponsors. Giving athletes a voice in their own fate would keep the NCAA accountable and prevent the manipulation of college athletes.

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