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Continued Exploitation

The NCAA recently announced some new rules regarding basketball, much of which I haven’t bothered trying to understand too deeply, around player eligibility, the NBA Draft, returning to school (as a player or not), and the penalties for breaking NCAA rules.

Between the first and second paragraphs of this post, I read the fine print of the new rules. One rule I actually liked — that the NCAA will pay tuition, books and fees for former players who return to school to finish their degrees — has enough qualifications attached (the player had to have completed two years of school already; player “must have exhausted all other funding options” to be eligible) to make it not as great as it sounds on the surface, which is disappointing.

But on the subject of “student-athletes,” what else do we expect from the NCAA?

The NCAA has been exploiting athletes — many of whom are African American — for a long time. College athletes, under the umbrella of being amateurs, are not allowed to be paid for their contributions to programs who make millions of dollars selling team merchandise and tickets to their games. The top coaches get six and seven figure salaries, and while most coaches may not get the headline-grabbing numbers, they all get paid something — because they’re all working. It’s a job, a job that, at the D1 level, produces healthy revenues.

And while I’m no expert on the college athletic system, I’ll go out on a limb and say the players are more responsible for that revenue than anyone else. But the players are not allowed to make anything.

No endorsements.

Not allowed to sell a pair of team-issued shoes.

Can’t even sell their own autograph.

All while the NCAA makes money off of their backs in the name of amateurism.

This is not a new issue. Football and basketball players have been beingextorted exploited by the NCAA for… well, for as long as the NCAA has existed. Players have never been paid. And they will continue to not be, until —

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