Comedy Sports Stephen Colbert

Colbert with The Sport Report

I happen to feel very strongly about the subject of college athletes working for free in a billion dollar industry, but I’ll let Colbert give it the mockery it deserves.

I am a huge fan of college football. It’s got all the grace and athleticism of pro football, but the players don’t make any money.

Whether you believe education should be more important than it is or that we should drop the act and stop pretending education is important, and whether or not you believe college athletes should be better compensated, it’s hard to argue the current situation isn’t a joke that no one is laughing at.

Related: lawyers for the NCAA are making exceedingly ridiculous claims in court concerning the profitability of college athletics. See also.

  • IrishGrrrl

    The current NCAA system can be compared to Plantation Culture from that peculiar era of The Late Great Unpleasantness. Like house slaves these athletes are treated differently than other students so that, in many ways, they are pampered academically and granted serious rule exemptions. Meanwhile the hoi polloi of the university set feed off the largesse of the players’ physical labor. Predominately white middle aged men use this unearned bounty to beautify campuses, increase student services, and to buttress the “lesser” sports, such as any of the women’s teams. Indeed, the amount of money and the liberality of its application is their main argument in favor of keeping the system as it is. From their privileged perch the booty appears to be a circumscribed pie that will only feed so many. Why give any of the pie, beyond the occasional tutoring and turning a blind eye to academic fraud and individual misbehavior, to the student athletes? They cry, ‘if we do, the other sports teams will suffer! Our endowment will suffer! The sky will fall!’ Never mind the actual profits being made are mind boggling. Never mind the lack of actual education being earned by the majority of student athletes. Never mind the dangerously false sense of self and lack of responsibility being instilled in the athletes. Never mind that strangely salty iced tea served at a “Meet the Football Team” pre-season party for donating alumni held in the antebellum University’s President’s House–it’s just the athlete’s blood, sweat and tears.

    None of this is meant to criticize the athletes. They are taking advantage of one of the only means for advancement that an 18 year old man with prodigious physical talent but a 4th grade reading level has available to him. He’s getting while the getting is good. Who can blame them? But they should receive better than the ultimately detrimental crumbs now being tossed at them by the NCAA and University hegemony.

  • JimmyAbra

    I don’t care if they get paid or not…but…just get rid of the farce of NCAA athletics. I have no problem with athletes playing intercollegiate sports to get a scholarship to study. But the current big sports should be elimanated. Go look at most universities with big sports programs. Look at the facilities for those athletes compared to other staff…or even look at the $ put into things like functioning web sites…First, there should be a real professional development league outside of the colleges that focus on development and not the athletes (note they are not student athletes) being used by the college and in many cases not developing for the next level.

  • muselet

    This is one of my (many) hobbyhorses. If the professional sports leagues want feeder series, let them set up—and pay for—their own Sports Academies and leave universities to get on with educating students.

    (Of course, I’m also the guy who thinks the right response from a city to a professional sports franchise demanding a new stadium be built using public money is, “No. We’ll happily put you in touch with property owners and we’ll even expedite the permits we control, but pay for your own damned stadium.”)


    • Christopher Foxx

      but pay for your own damned stadium.

      Damned right

  • Norbrook

    I used to be against paying college players, but after a series of stories about college athletics these days, I’m for it. “Year to Year” scholarships, allowing functionally illiterate athletes to skate through, and pushing others into easy majors are just some of the things that are coming out.

    If they’re serious about “academics,” what they should do is have no freshmen on the varsity teams, make all scholarships at least 4 years, even if the player decides to leave to try the pro’s, they still have whatever time is left if they don’t make it. Otherwise, cut the crap and pay them.