“(College sports) is one of the few industries in America that is allowed to exploit those who are responsible for generating most of the revenue,” – U.S. Senator Cory Booker, explaining the need for the College Athlete Bill of Rights authored by he and fellow senator Richard Blumenthal.
I’m all for treating collegiate athletes with respect and allowing for them to share in the massive profits universities enjoy because of the popularity of the college football and basketball, but to argue they are “exploited” at a unique level is beyond ludicrous.
Our entire economy is built for the wealthy to get much wealthier and the labor class to break even – at best. If anything, college athletes are treated better than those toiling on the lower rungs of America’s societal ladder. They have and are what the truly exploited covet.
Student-athletes are provided housing, food, training, an education, and a financial stipend. Whether they are deserving of more is a good argument reasonable people can have. But Booker’s crazy assertion that student-athletes are outliers in a system where those with big houses usually have two and those with small houses can’t afford what they have can’t be taken seriously.
The bill is one of at least a half dozen college sports reform acts at different stages of legislative review, and it covers a lot of ground – from guaranteeing scholarships until a degree is conferred to post-graduate health care to new transfer rules and system that would allow athletes to receive payment for regulated use of their names, images, and likenesses. It also creates a nine-person Commission on College Athletics, which will undoubtedly employ a batch of attorneys who will be paid handsomely for adjudicating its mandates.
Why is it that every time we try to fix a problem at the legislative level, the result is the creation of new oversight layers and a new batch of problems. The creation of complications that arise from an effort to solve a smaller set of problems seems to have been a constitutional mandate of the United States Senate..
If our government really wants to fix the economics of college sports, a better alternative is to simplify the system so fewer are required to manage it. Let’s reduce the size and scope of the rule book so schools don’t require a compliance department to abide by it. The coaches and administrators who remain should be paid at the same level as professors, and the profits generated by athletics can be diverted to a fund for scholarships to reduce the ever spiraling expense of higher education for those in need.
Instead of inviting more pigs to the trough, how about distributing the food in the trough to those who really need it, instead of those who are already living the dream?
And how about once and for all acknowledging that student-athletes aren’t those being preyed upon by the economic system that generates absurd wealth for coaches and administrators. It’s those who need to take out generational loans in order to enjoy the fruits of a college education, or forego college altogether.
No argument from me that coaches like Nick Saban and Mike Krzyzewski make way too much money, but the solution should not be to share it with those who are already well taken care of.
And only narrow-minded headline grabbers believe the solution of the many problems with college sports is in defining student-athletes as victims.