by Grey Grymm
Now indentured servants may seem like a harsh word, but that is because what the NCAA does to their athletes is akin to indentured servitude or being a sharecropper. The NCAA and the power athletic conferences that make them up, basically get a ready group of workers to make them billions of dollars and pay them pennies on the dollar. It is an iron grip, that it would seem, will not be broken in our lifetime. The athletes have little in the way of support from the public, because quite frankly they feel no sympathy for them. Most had it a lot harder than the athletes just trying to pay for college. On top of that the athletes were popular and always got the guy or girl. So the fact that they are being treated unfairly and having money taken from them, just doesn't matter to John and Jane Q Public.
But let's be honest. College sports is getting away with something no other industry can. And let's be very clear it is an industry. College football alone is probably the most popular sport in the country right behind professional football. Stadiums in the fall sell out with 100,000 in attendance. Making the coaches, athletic directors, schools, conferences, and the NCAA a lot of money. They sell jerseys with the the players names on them. The have merchandise with the players names on them. They have video games with the players likeness in them. Yet the players get not one penny for all of this wealth that they generate.
Very few of these athletes will make it to become professional athletes. Of the ones that do, few still will be the big names that will make the big money. Most will have a short career, with few skills to get them through life. But again no one really cares. Because at the end of the day, people admire athletes probably like no other. You see the rich and famous always trying to be around them. Just about everyone has an interest in some sport. They can all imagine being on that field, making the big play. Since they are not, they really don't have any sympathy for the guy that took the girl they wanted back in college, got a free new car, and didn't have to work to pay for college with no help or support from anyone.
But these athletes are modern day indentured servants. Sure they get a lot of rewards, perks, and gifts, but at the end of the day they are still bound to the masters (colleges) that they serve. If they step out of line they are punished. The coaches, athletic directors, and conference presidents all make millions and control these young men and women lives will they are in school. So this fall when you are watching your alumni (or some school you like) play, think about how the players are being mistreated and taken advantage.
The irony of all of this is that it will probably be the greed of the schools and not the compassion of people that will end this facade. At the end of the day cash does rule all.