Watched the PBS episode of Frontline last night with great interest because it dedicated about 20 minutes towards college sports and the NCAA tournament. Frontline correspondent and former 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman completed the segment.
It's bend is pretty simple - college kids get screwed. They are basically pros who work on really bad, one-year contracts that are not guaranteed to roll over.
This is basically what we already knew. Coaches are wildly overpaid. The NCAA exploits free labor costs.
The NCAA hides behind amateur status to receive a federal tax exemption.
The very aspect to the show that caught my eye is the growing class action suit filed against the NCAA on behalf of former "student" athletes who can't profit from their likeness when the NCAA sells video games, DVDs of former games, etc.
The face of this suit is Ed O'Bannon, a former star forward at UCLA who won a title with the Bruins in the '90s. His NBA career didn't pan out. Probably didn't help any that he played for the Mavs.
This story comes up every year and begs the question - should student athletes get paid for their services to the university?
The simple answer is yes. The complicated, and more realistic answer, Pandora's Box.
- Mac Engel
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