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Sunday, March 11, 2012
The Irony That is March Madness

Now that “March Madness” is underway, two important articles this weekend highlight the irony that is big time college athletics in 2012. The first article, “Everybody Wants a Piece of Nerlens Noel” written by Pete Thamel in The New York Times, highlights the recruiting efforts by colleges for the services of a standout high school basketball player. This piece illustrates, in remarkable clarity, the fact that schools view athletes as commodities rather than potential student-athletes.

As a result, can it really be any surprise that advocates again discuss forming a union on behalf of these student-athletes? An article on by Josh Eidelson entitled “Madness of March: NCAA Gets Paid, Players Don’t,” raises the concept of student-athletes unionizing. Rather than just arguing it’s a concept worth debating, Eidelson actually pushes the discussion by addressing the legal framework that so far has stifled this effort and offers some solutions.

Make no mistake, college athletics is an extremely lucrative business. Chasing revenue places pressure on schools to recruit elite student-athletes. Unfortunately, those same student-athletes have virtually no formal say in either their governing body (NCAA) or as an a collective body (union). Change is necessary.


I definitely agree that their are injustices but I am curious what would happen to the many players, highlighted in this tournament, form schools like Iona, Murray State and Belmont. Most likely they would have to fold their programs. I want these kids to get the opportunity to play, but are late bloomers going to miss their shot?

Blogger Ken Scott -- 3/12/2012 9:47 AM  

Ken, what ramifications of unionizing or at least coherently organizing a group of college athletes are you envisioning that would lead to mid-major programs to shut down? In theory, it is the late bloomers that you are looking to protect who are generally hit hardest by the financial strain that many college athletes face. A group seeking to protect their rights would seem to only advantage them.

Anonymous Andy Eason -- 3/13/2012 1:01 AM  

Feel bad about the idea of having those players like a commodity, but sometimes it is true. Hope many would change with this kind of view to players who are more competitive out there.

Anonymous Ragnor relay -- 3/20/2012 2:09 AM  

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