Are NCAA Sports Modern Day Slavery?

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On the outside, college football appears fine. When we think of college football, we think of home games with electric atmospheres and friendly rivalries–harmless enough. Yes, it may be a bit damaging to the body, but safety is often disregarded when it comes to such a solid part of American culture. However, there’s a much darker side to the green fields and brown pigskin that this country holds so dear in our hearts.

Unsurprisingly, college football games bring in a lot of money. When you take into account the tickets and the various paraphernalia (i.e tee shirts, bumper stickers, cups, jerseys,etc.), you can see how the figures really begin to add up. High-earning schools like Alabama earn around the $100,000,000, while low division schools come in at around $10,000,000 for one game. At this rate, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)  makes around $8 billion a year! And why not, right? These athletes are working hard for our entertainment, so why shouldn’t they get their fair share?

How are these athletes supposed to make a living out of their time-consuming job that won’t even pay them?

That’s the thing–most athletes often don’t get any of this grand revenue. Yes, they get money for housing, food, and tuition but that’s about it. That’s money to ensure their survival, not a personal pat on the back for the work they’ve done. There’s no paycheck for the hours on end of rigorous practice and game-time. No compensation for the day of entertainment that they provide to millions of people on any given Sunday. Not a dime. So who is this money going to? That would be coaches, sponsors, and, of course, the universities. Essentially, the universities “own” the players. They have a right to the player’s identity, earning every penny from both their merchandise and performance, which stops the actual player from earning anything. How are these athletes supposed to make a living out of their time-consuming job that won’t even pay them?

Take football players in the national league. They do basically the same thing that these college football players are doing and are making million dollar deals. These college athletes are risking their health for the sake of our entertainment and for what? Experience? Exposure? Well, why can’t it be the best of both words? Why can’t these players get paid for their experience and possible exposure? Especially when the athletes are the main reason why the universities are making so much from football or basketball games.

I’m not saying that we should turn college students into millionaires overnight, but the least we could do is compensate them for putting their extreme effort into something so vital to American culture. Housing and food costs only go so far. Not to mention that these are what a college athlete needs to actually survive and well, continue making more money for the university. So are these costs really for the better of the player or the university? When it comes down to it, college athletes are working for no pay while the people above them get rich rather quickly. The NCAA targets strong men from the south who belong to the field on which they work on, sound familiar to you? I’m not buying this “free labor” argument – it sounds like plain modern-day slavery to me.

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