Monday March 23, 2015
We’re in the middle of March Madness, as startling developments took place in these first four days.
Villanova and Virginia have been eliminated, making the East bracket up for grabs. Kentucky is still undefeated, and favorites Duke, Wisconsin and Arizona are still alive.
However, a pressing issue has resurfaced once again: the student athlete dilemma.
HBO’s John Oliver did a stunning piece on this situation. He criticized the NCAA for mistreating student athletes in a satirical yet informing video. The segment is over 20 minutes, and it’s almost a rallying cry to get students their stipend.
There’s been movement for this “dream.” Sports Illustrated reported Penn State and the Big Ten Conference teams could give their student athletes a stipend nearly worth five grand.
I also discussed the ramifications of student athletes getting stipends when the University of Northwestern’s football team won a ruling to become unionized. However, the leader of the free world added a new wrinkle to this predicament.
President Barack Obama chimed in to the (Associated Press via ESPN) stating that student athletes getting compensation is wrong. He claimed it would start a bidding war between colleges and would defeat the true meaning of college sports.
Yet, the president also acknowledged the current model is unfair for student athletes, saying how colleges must be held accountable. He stated in an interview with the Huffington Post that universities should take care of student athletes since they’re bringing in more revenue.
Obama went on in this quote about colleges paying administration:
“What does frustrate me is where I see coaches getting paid millions of dollars, athletic directors getting paid millions of dollars, the NCAA making huge amounts of money, and then some kid gets a tattoo or gets a free use of a car and suddenly they’re banished,” Obama said. “That’s not fair.”
I know what you’re thinking. Doesn’t the president have better things to do than talk about this? Actually, the growing issue needed to be addressed.
President Obama worked actively in education issues (forgiving student loans, for example) and is an avid sports fan. If anyone needs to discuss student athletes getting compensation, it’s him.
Regardless, this issue matters. Why else do you think the Fab Five had their banners removed because they allegedly took “spending money?” Why else do you think colleges don’t let their athletes make endorsement deals until after they’ve turned pro (if they do already)?
This is a hot debate, and it seems colleges are somewhat open to the idea of stipends for student athletes. Be aware it’s a triple down effect from the football players to lacrosse. Yes, every boy and girl would be eligible for compensation.
Colleges and the NCAA can always compromise and make his dream a reality. Frankly, expect the movement to gain even more traction as time moves along.
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