Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Abolish college athletic programs to protect college athletes’ interests

(U-WIRE) TUCSON, Ariz. – College athletics is critical to America’s culture and economy. It provides entertainment, allows athletes to showcase their talents for the pros and gives students pride in an organization that receives national attention.

Rarely, though, are the full economic implications of athletic programs considered. If they were, it would be shown that the college athletes are getting screwed, and badly at that.

The University of Arizona’s athletics department has a budget of $22 million. Ninety percent of this funding comes from the breadwinner sports – men’s basketball and football. Essentially, they fund other sports less likely to draw in 50,000 fans, such as golf.

So far, so good. Athletes earn the money that pays for their scholarships, pays for their equipment and pays for athletic programs that may not otherwise get funded.

Now consider the bigger picture.

When one of our teams is on primetime ESPN, CBS or Fox, advertisers are paying big bucks. When kids see talented athletes wearing Nike, they are likely to buy Nike, too. Tucson also benefits economically from our teams in the form of local businesses that cater to Arizona fans, whether by selling T-shirts or hot dogs. Add it up at the national level and a lot of people are making literally billions off college athletics.

A popular myth is that athletes are taken care of for generating this explosive revenue – after all, they get big-dollar scholarships, room and board and a stipend. What they do not get, however, is proportional payment for their efforts, a cut of the pie, so to speak.

The only fair option is to salary athletes, but that’s not viable because that is exactly what the NCAA is supposed to prevent. Big schools, such as Arizona, could out-pay smaller schools, and you’d pretty much have the NBA and students with multimillion dollar pay checks.

Athletes do not have any of these same protections and are virtually slaves during their time at a university, making little compared to what they are actually earning for outside interests.

A few get around this and go on to professional careers in their sport to become multimillionaires. The rest of the athletes in the money sports do not. They spend years training and performing, risking serious injury, all so that Nike can sell shoes, probably made by an eight-year-old child in Taiwan.

It should also be noted that our theoretical biochemist could also wear Converse, instead of Nike, should he or she desire.

The solution: Eliminate college athletics.

Terminating the program would create enormous economic pressure to create a more equitable program for the athletes. It can be assumed that without the athletes, the same groups exploiting them now would quickly propose a multitude of solutions.

If we kill the athletic programs fast enough, we may not even have to miss much of next year’s season.

-Staff editorial of the University of Arizona’s Daily Wildcat.

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