Give college athletes, those whose backs March Madness are built on for example, their 40 acres and a mule.
I don’t watch college sports, neither basketball nor football. I stay away from professional sports, too. But as the CEO of a marketing and news organization who understands the lucrative business of licensing, content and merchandising, I cringe at the thought of students going to bed hungry after playing a tiresome game, while fans—either in the stadium or at home—cheer, tweet, and more importantly, purchase.
I understand the whole athletic scholarship talking points. However, I think that until students are fairly compensated for the many ways they are currently being exploited they should definitely unionize. And in the meantime they should strike. I don’t care whether or not it’s illegal for student athletes to disregard the games in protest; it can’t be anymore against the law than how the NCAA is structured, in my opinion.
A nonprofit organization, the NCAA touts “protecting amateurism” as the pillar for its “no-pay rule.” But the truth is there’s nothing amateur about college sports. Thankfully a judge—one with good sense—has finally seen that. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in late February ordered that the ground-breaking Ed O’Bannon v NCAA class action ant-trust lawsuit should proceed to trial. Ed’ O Bannon, a former UCLA basketball player, is challenging the organization’s use of the images of its former student athletes for commercial purposes.
Filed on behalf of the NCAA’s Division 1 football and men’s basketball players, this landmark case, which sees the first time in history that the NCAA’s fundamental amateurism principles are the subject of a major trial, could see the removal of restrictions that prevent athletes from sharing in the fortune being made from their likeness. According to SI.com, the origins of this case stem from O’Bannon seeing his avatar in an EA Sports video game; however, the plaintiffs’ focus has shifted almost entirely to the broadcasting of games.
The NCAA claims it’s within their First Amendment rights to broadcast newsworthy events, such as a college football game. Yet the judge questioned why they can then sell exclusive games rights to networks like CSB and still argue the events are public domain. At stake, many say, are billions of dollars in television revenues and licensing fees—and to think Shabazz Napier, whose team won the finals last night, goes to bed starving because he can’t afford food.
To the NCAA, give these students their 40 acres and a mule dammit, and while you’re at it, cut them in on the profits. To deny them access to the wealth being generated on their backs is unfair, it seems unconstitutional and its too much like slavery—slavery by any other name is still exploitation.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
Source: TBO Inc®
Photo: AP/Jae C. Hong
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