Thursday, October 01, 2015
Class Bias In Sport: Academia and the NCAA
If there is better example of class bias in academia than support of any kind for the NCAAs exploitation of mainly African-American and relative poor 18-21 year olds I do not know what it is. And since most academics identify as liberals there is more than a smidgeon of hypocrisy. In fact it is the ultimate in unliberalness found on College campuses. Let's count the ways.
1. First is the wacky anti-trust matter. Although there are major cracks in the NCAAs wall of exploitation, it continues to insist that it is seller a different product (amateur sports) and increases competition. I guess if you were in the South in the 1850s and you found buyers who wanted slave-picked cotton and you joined other slave owners and agreed not to pay slaves anything you would be fine under the antitrust laws because slave-picked cotton competed with cotton picked by non slaves. In effect, if there is a market for anything, even if it only exists through exploitation, capitalism gives it the stamp of approval. Of course, there is no real proof that there was a slave-picked cotton preference any more than there is a preference for football games played only by the exploited players, ( I am not using the knee jerk notion of exploitation but the actual official definition of exploitation -- look it up if you do not believe me). Nevertheless, at the top of the season ticket holders list you find college presidents and professors. And, many of them will even support the NCAAs right to keep on exploiting and desperately seek credit for it.
2. There is also the twisted logic. Why are football players amateurs? Because the people who hire them refuse to pay them. Somehow it seems like being a amateur should be a choice. If you are forced to be an amateur are you still rightfully viewed as a amateur? To me, amateur means you do not ACCEPT money. Being willing to accept money but having a club of fat cats refusing to pay hardly makes you an amateur in any meaningful sense.
3. I love this one.(not really). You have probably heard it: "They are paid. They get scholarships." Now if you really believe they are paid you are conceding that they are not amateurs. That's fine but to be consistent you must actually mean "They are not amateurs but I oppose giving them any more money." Somehow those who make this argument run out of gas at this point. They have no argument for why the amount currently paid is enough or should not be determined by the market as it is in the case of their own wages.
4. Frankly I am not sure where millions of dollars go from college football and basketball but I do know many college sports to not generate the revenue it takes to run them. So they are subsidized. Maybe the money does not go directly from football to the golf team but let's face it, the football money makes it easier for those sports to exist. Now let's think of some of these sports -- swimming, golf, tennis, lacrosse, etc. I am willing to bet that the kids getting those scholarships on average come from a much different socioeconomic class that the football and basketball players. Do academics have any objection to the redistribution from those less well off to those better off. If so, I have not heard a peep.