College Sports on the Brink of Disaster: The Rise of Pay-For-Play and the Fall of the Scholar-Athlete
Originally published as Marching towards madness in Durham by Carolina Academic Press, 2020.
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Impelled by runaway spending and rampant corruption, America's much-beloved games of college basketball and football are being threatened. The specter of billion-dollar sums being showered on coaches, voracious athletic directors, hordes of support staff and lavish comforts for fans has led to a near-deafening roar to pay the players. The injustice of such sums being amassed, in the main, from the labor of young men of color many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds cannot be justified; and yet, American society has allowed this intractable problem to fester for more than half a century. Lured by the glitter of untold riches, naive young players enroll year after year in colleges and universities expecting the ultimate reward of a highly paid career as a pro. Only a minuscule few will advance that far; even fewer will reap significant financial rewards. Instead of educating them, colleges and universities force them into full-time athletic jobs in which their labor is shamelessly exploited. Small wonder that outraged critics demand compensation for the players, but these same critics only present vague answers when asked how such a radical change would work. College Sports on the Brink of Disaster, first published as Marching Toward Madness and now newly updated, cites twenty-one reasons why the pro-pay position is wrong, among them the prospect that the player talent pool will be concentrated to even fewer rich schools; recruiting wars will lead to more frequent scandals; and the regulatory powers of the NCAA will exponentially increase. Worst of all, pay-for-play will encourage schools to shirk even further the imperative to educate the young athletes. College Sports on the Brink of Disaster presents comprehensive reforms to end cheating and corruption in college sports, to put academics first, and to end the peonage of non-white athletes once and for all.