I applaud J. Peder Zane for his Aug. 13 column “ College sports reform chases mirage of exploitation, profits.” Finally there’s a voice of reason regarding the vast revenue generated by college athletics. Too often punditssensationalize this story by decrying a system that exploits college football and basketball players for the sake of profits.
Yes, there is lots of money being made in college sports. Most of that money, however, is used to fund athletic departments with many nonrevenue sports. Thousands of student-athletes are getting opportunities in college as a result. Is this a bad way to spend that money? No, college football and basketball players are not being exploited. They are being compensated with a free college education. They’re provided the best instruction in their sports, working in great facilities and performing on the biggest stages. There are no victims here.
I’m not against giving modest stipends to football and basketball players. But it has to be done in a way that schools can’t gain a competitive advantage and without any impact to existing nonrevenue sports. I’m not sure that’s possible.
Where will the money come from? Probably a combination of increased ticket prices, parking fees, concessions, student athletic fees and cuts in nonrevenue sports. And why? To placate the public who’ve been duped to believe there are exorbitant profits being made in college sports.
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