Show Me The Money: Chapter 6: The NCAA’s “Whiff of the plantation”
Critical Repsponse to Zirin’s Game Over
By: Paul Dermody
University is known as the best 4 (or more) years of a young adults life. It is also the most expensive 4 years of a young adults life. Well that depends on what side of the fence you sit on and what sport you play.
Zirin uses chapter 6 to discus the insight into NCAA sport and how student athletes are given such lavish lifestyles but in the same thought they are being mislead and taken advantage of by the NCAA. The NCAA is being compared to the slave owners of the southern United States in the 1800’s and how they give “special allowances” to these student athletes, but pull in six figure salaries.
It is no surprise that the NCAA makes hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars off of student athletes and their accomplishments. All endorsements made by these so called “student athletes” go to the school and the NCAA and players receive nothing in return. Yes some may argue that they receive scholarships, and that they are not there to make money but to learn. That is true, if we went back 50 plus years to the days of academia and when it wasn’t the largest post secondary athletics governing body in the world. Instead they are given scholarships, which aren’t even guaranteed. So if Johnny Wideout breaks his leg, he isn’t guaranteed that scholarship.
Zirin displays how the NCAA promote amateurism, and the spirit of sportsmanship in the one hand, but he also shows how they are collecting hundreds of millions of dollars with the other. Meanwhile Cam Newton was the poster boy for Under Armour and did not see a cent of the $10.6 million dollars the University of Auburn saw (Zirin, 2013).
While the NCAA and the schools acquire this great wealth off of hard working students, the schools are complaining about their deficits and cuts. Zirin shows that in 2010 the SEC (South East Conference) made 1 billion dollars, and the Big 10 conference made $905 million (Zirin, 2013).
So I raise my first question. Why hasn’t the legal system in the United States stepped in to correct this problem. This at the root of it is a labour issue. Working without compensation. Yes, the players do not have a union to file this request, but they should not be taken advantage of in plain day light like they are. There are no guarantee’s and no allowances except for the scholarship.
The NCAA more and more looks like that mafia head figure, handing out those penalties and punishments but in the mean time taking what is thought to be theirs financially.
Zirin believes and as do I that there will be one thing that will correct this problem. A student wide strike at the games. Become that non participant and get what you deserve. If you were to look at history, anytime there has been change it has happened because of a revolution. I am not saying burn down the campus or the athletic facility, but stand up for what is right, what you deserve.
Why hasn’t this occurred more often. The 1960’s showed us that with athletes mainly African American being integrated into all white schools because someone stood up and did what was right. They fought for what was right which was everyone deserved an equal education and chance to compete no matter what colour or race.
Recently we have seen Grambling State University do such a thing. Half of the football team has walked away from their student athlete duties because of the ill treatment given by the University and their governing body. They have mold on their uniforms and ill equipped facilities for their needs. Yet as they use their right of freedom of speech they are condemned and threatened by the university and the NCAA. They’ve been told that if they continue their actions they will be revoked of their scholarships and be thrown out.
Maybe this is what is needed. Students’ are always told that you’re to young to understand or you are still a kid, but in the case of the NCAA, they are rich because of those kids.
Margret Mead said it best “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”.
Zirin, D. (2013). Game over: How politics has turned the sports world upside down. (pp. 107-119). New York, United States of America: The New Press.