Let’s cut the crap about amateurism. The NCAA reported 18.8 BILLION dollars in revenue in revenue in 2019. Do you know how much of that went towards financial aid for the students? 3.5 billion that is 18%, and another 18% went toward the coaches’ salaries. “Supporting student-athlete success on the field, in the classroom and in life by integrating athletics into higher education.” Is the tagline they keep feeding kids who are on campus with athletic related commitments for over 60 hours a week. The chance of a “free” education is huge, I played with a lot of guys that wouldn’t have gone to college if they were playing sports. That being said these kids are employees of the school they just aren’t treated the same way; they are still expected to maintain the same standards as other employees are told when to show up when they can go home and what they must wear. If you have students that spend so much time between the classes and the obligations they have to their team that they cannot get another job to support themselves, and are generating insane amounts of revenue for their schools (College football was an estimated $4 Billion loss if they did not play the 2020 season and that is just one sport. )
These are young kids laying their body and mind on the line for the pursuit of a dream. The scholarship helps, I had a full ride to a Division 1 school for football. There were still nights I know myself and my teammates would go to bed hungry because we couldn’t afford to eat, and if you accept something as small as a meal from someone it could be grounds to lose your scholarship. This is across all levels and all sports, Chris bosh recently had an article about it saying, “Can you imagine what it’s like to be on ESPN playing North Carolina — without $5 to your name? Can you imagine what it’s like to generate millions in revenue for your school — without being able to buy a hot meal off campus?“
This is a feeling a lot of us knew all too well, you suit it up lay your body on the line the school generates millions of dollars in funds, and you are trying to figure out how you are going to eat to make weigh ins tomorrow. I was fortunate enough my family was close enough and had the means to come up and get my friends and I groceries when things got really bad. But remember, I was one of the lucky ones, a lot of my teammates didn’t have those support networks back home. So, either our strength coaches would go into their own pockets to leave food around so guys wouldn’t go hungry, or kids didn’t eat. These are kids you are asking to go out on a Saturday morning to perform but they couldn’t eat dinner 3 nights this week.
Like Bosh, I agree that the way the NCAA is doing this is an archaic and outdated monopoly resting on the ideal of amateurism that was recently challenged in the supreme court. One of the most striking quotes from that basically stated that every time the NCAA goes to court, they say it will be the end of college sports, every time they lose revenue continues to go up, but the players get a better quality of life. I also agree with Bosh’s point, it isn’t enough to pay the students, they need to be educated on how to deal with money. How do you expect a 19-year-old who hasn’t had much their entire lives to know how to manage millions of dollars? If they truly cared about these students how they said they did, it would be a part of the orientation process athletes go through when they get to campus.
The talent levels in the NCAA have already started to go down in men’s basketball with top high school talent like Jalen Green opting into the G league or LaMelo ball playing professionally overseas. People are hungry and looking to experiment, the old ways are failing our youth. We must be a part of the fight to hold the NCAA accountable and take care of the athletes that are to come, so they have the chance to be student-athletes. We must hold the line so they have better opportunities and can capitalize on those opportunities for their futures. I want you to take some time today and look up the NCAA financials from 2019, ask yourself where is the money going? Find a petition you support related to this and make your voice known.