Dave Berri recently offered a post on why he thinks college athletes should be paid.
Today, in an odd coincidence, I stumbled upon one of the most complete articles I have ever read on the subject. The Shame of College Sports, written by Taylor Branch, covers the majority of the problems with the NCAA all in one article, including:
- the early history of the NCAA
- the myth of amateurism
- why “student athletes” should be paid
- scholarship issues
- academic issues
- ridiculous examples of college “scandals”, including the case of A. J. Green
- court cases against the NCAA, including the Ed O’Bannon case
And when I say ‘complete’, I mean it. This article is over 14 000 words — almost 29 single-spaced pages. It’ll take you a while to get through this baby, but it’s well worth it if you are interested in the NCAA, sports, or human rights issues.
My favourite quote from the piece can be found near the top. In 2001, when Sonny Vaccaro was asked why universities should be an advertising medium for the shoe industry, he replied:
“They shouldn’t, sir. You sold your souls, and you’re going to continue selling them. You can be very moral and righteous in asking me that question, sir, but there’s not one of you in this room that’s going to turn down any of our money. You’re going to take it. I can only offer it.”
Taylor Branch was actually against paying student athletes before he wrote the article, and in the course of writing the article he changed his mind. Because once you know enough, there is no way you can be against a radical restructuring of the entire NCAA system.