Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Myth of the ‘Exploited’ Athlete

By Bill Rice, Jr. October 16, 2019

Somewhere along the way the fact that college sport’s growing revenues were not being shared with poor athletes became offensive or “unfair.”

Beginning in 2023, California’s “Fair Pay to Play” law will allow the state’s college athletes to be compensated for their name, likeness, and image. As athletes are not allowed to share in the massive revenues their talents make possible, they are in effect being exploited, supporters of the law argue.

But are college athletes really being exploited? While “conventional wisdom” tells us they are, conventional wisdom is often wrong… as it is here..........Disadvantaged student athletes at most big-time athletic programs receive both Pell Grants and “cost of attendance” stipends as part of their scholarships. It’s not uncommon for student athletes to pocket more than $10,000/year (about $850/month) from these sources… Not a large amount, but certainly more than enough for athletes to buy toiletries and an occasional late-night pizza.

Student athletes actually don’t need as much spending money as “regular” students.

For example, regular students typically do not receive free housing. In contrast, college athletes (at least those in the “revenue” sports) are housed in dorms or apartment complexes. If a student athlete had to pay rent and utilities for an apartment or dorm, he’d be shelling out at least $10,000/year. Over three years, this is a $30,000 benefit. The student athlete who redshirts and finishes his eligibility in five years receives a $50,000 benefit in housing alone.

College football and basketball players also receive all the food they can eat. In most dining halls, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are spread out in a buffet style that Morrison’s customers would envy

Not only are student athletes not going hungry, they probably eat better than 90 percent of Americans anywhere. How many Americans have the opportunity to choose from dozens of menu items -- waffle stations, omelet stations, fresh juice stations, four meat choices, eight vegetable choices, salad bars, deserts, any drink they want, with repeat trips allowed? The answer: Probably only athletes who play high-profile sports at big-time colleges…………. It’s also worth noting that unlike most “regular students,” no college athlete on a full scholarship leaves college with crippling levels of debt............. To Read More

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