Monday, March 30, 2009

NCAA addresses pay-for-play questions

The NCAA has added to its website a piece that addresses frequently asked questions and frequently unasked for opinions on the issue of paying student-athletes.
And Dr. Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University provides his own response to the NCAA's responses over at The Black Athlete Sports Network. Dr. Watkins makes a connection between the exploitation of athletes and that of slaves in 19th century America. It's a bold comparison and I am not sure I see as clearly as he does the same pedantic tone in the NCAA's response as existed in the rhetoric from slave owners. But in the end he's right on the mark when he points out how others--individuals mostly--are getting rich off of these athletes. And when he notes that it just doesn't seem right that coaches are getting millions when their own athletic departments are operating in the red.
He does rebut the NCAA's contention that there would be Title IX issues invoked if student-athletes started receiving salaries, though I'm not quite sure why Watkins believes it would not be an issue unless he sees athletes being compensated by entities other than their respective institutions--though even if say NBC was the one doling out the cash there still might be equity issues.
In the end, I agree with a lot of what Watkins has to say regarding the NCAA's arguments. But I would rather see reform in some of these areas like coaching contracts and television deals rather than adding student-athletes to the payroll. I know it's like trying to close Pandora's box (and stuff everything back in at the same time) but I'll keep advocating for that approach.