Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Irony That is March Madness

Now that “March Madness” is underway, two important articles this weekend highlight the irony that is big time college athletics in 2012. The first article, “Everybody Wants a Piece of Nerlens Noel” written by Pete Thamel in The New York Times, highlights the recruiting efforts by colleges for the services of a standout high school basketball player. This piece illustrates, in remarkable clarity, the fact that schools view athletes as commodities rather than potential student-athletes.

As a result, can it really be any surprise that advocates again discuss forming a union on behalf of these student-athletes? An article on by Josh Eidelson entitled “Madness of March: NCAA Gets Paid, Players Don’t,” raises the concept of student-athletes unionizing. Rather than just arguing it’s a concept worth debating, Eidelson actually pushes the discussion by addressing the legal framework that so far has stifled this effort and offers some solutions.

Make no mistake, college athletics is an extremely lucrative business. Chasing revenue places pressure on schools to recruit elite student-athletes. Unfortunately, those same student-athletes have virtually no formal say in either their governing body (NCAA) or as an a collective body (union). Change is necessary.

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