Monday, October 14, 2019

Should We Pay College Athletes?

The year is 1919. Concerned with athletes being rife with corruption, the left swings into action and bans college athletes from being paid so that all the money men, bribes, and sponsors lose their influence. From this day forward, athletes will only be under the influence of their coaches and schools. Flash forward to 2019. Concerned that it's "not fair" that schools make money off of athletes and athletes don't, the left swings into action and decides that athletes should be allowed to earn money off their images... and sponsors... and possibly more. Flash forward to 2119.... rinse and repeat.

For those who don't know, the Democrats have jumped on the issue of letting athletes earn money through sponsorships and the such. After all, it isn't fair that colleges can make money on these athletes, but they get nothing. Let's debunk some of this, shall we?

1. Dirty capitalist exploiters. Actually... note that it is leftist colleges who are exploiting the "free labor" of student athletes. It's funny how often leftists are the bad guys in leftist passion plays.

2. There's no reason not to pay them though! Actually... note that the reason students were prevented from being able to get sponsors and sell their images was rampant corruption in college athletics in the 1920s. Banning the money helped. Will corruption come back? Well, Nike and Adidas already have been caught bribing athletes to steer them to specific programs. That will become commonplace now that we're going to put the money back in to fix "unfairness."

3. But it is unfair that athletes get nothing. Actually... note that student athletes actually get a lot. Between room and board from scholarships, athletes can get up to about $400,000 worth of benefits for playing. Note that they get special treatment on campus. Note that they get into schools they otherwise wouldn't and can claim to have those degrees which better qualified kids will never get because the athletes take their spots. Who's the real victim here?

4. But we all know that athletes are just waiting to turn pro, the education means nothing! Actually... note that only around 1% of college athletes have a chance of turning pro at any level, so the idea that this is a career track -- which underlies the thinking -- is false except for a handful of people. So the education is the real benefit and it is a HUGE benefit.

5. But why should colleges get the money... it's the athletes that draw people in. Actually... colleges build the stadiums and they build the brands that give the athletes the chance to exploit their images. Without the colleges, the athletes would have nothing. What's more, colleges use the money to improve student life, to pay for scholarships, to fund other sports and other programs. Are colleges well run? No, but that's a different issue that doesn't get solved by giving athletes more money.

6. Still, it's all about fairness. Oh, is it? Note that the only beneficiaries of this will be men's football and basketball with a smattering of other athletes around the nation. College runners, swimmers, gymnasts and volleyball players are nobodies... Olympians matter in those sports, college athletes don't. How do you think the left is going to respond when 95% of the money goes to young men and 95% of that goes to young men who will be millionaires a year or two after getting famous at college? Sports is the ultimate meritocracy and the public only cares about certain sports and only certain positions at that.

Ultimately, I don't care. Sports is sports. It's a business. It's corrupt. This is millionaires verses billionaires, so who cares. But don't kid yourself that this will make anything fair or will fix anything. Gobs of money corrupts, it does not purify. And the problems sports have and colleges have cannot be fixed be dividing a corrupt pie into more parts. If you want to fix this, rid the pie of corruption. Require transparency. Be honest about the debate. But that's not what the left does. It tries to fix complex problems with the easiest sounding solutions and then it struggles to fix all the problems its solution causes until enough time passes that the definition of fairness changes and they advocate what was once considered the bad guy side all over again. Then you repeat the play from that side. See you in 2049.



Tennessee Jed said...

in theory, I would love to return to scholar athletes. Only players enrolled via academic requirements. That train long left town and division 1 is a huge industry. Under those circumstances, performers deserve a peice of the pie. However, they should sign contracts. No more entering the portal or changing your mind after signing. Schools offering less than a four year deal can refuse to renew if performance is not there. Just a thought. Oh and huge buyout clauses for NFL to oay if they piach a olayer with remaining eligibility

tryanmax said...

I'm not a big sports guy, so here's my wild hare: With China running Nike and Nike running pro-sports, this basically opens the door for China to surreptitiously run US universities.

Anthony said...

Never thought about it since I'm not much of a sports guy but you make a persuasive case for the current system.

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