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"It's Madness That We Don't Pay College Athletes"
Chris Bosh wrote an op-ed for The Players' Tribune yesterday detailing his experience as a student-athlete at Georgia Tech nearly 20 years ago, but has anything changed since?
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Chris Bosh is one of the most accomplished players in NBA history.
2x NBA Champion
11x NBA All-Star
Olympic Gold Medalist
But before all those professional accolades & accomplishments, Chris Bosh was a student-athlete struggling to understand the role of amateur athleticism.
Chris Bosh wrote an op-ed for The Players’ Tribune yesterday that I thought was super interesting. He discusses his personal experience as a college athlete and the role of compensation within amateur athletics.
Here’s an excerpt from the piece:
Can you imagine what it’s like to be on ESPN playing North Carolina — without $5 to your name?
Can you imagine what it’s like to generate millions in revenue for your school — without being able to buy a hot meal off-campus?
Can you imagine what it’s like to be a few months from being able to take care of your family — but knowing that if you twist your leg at the wrong angle, you could lose it all?
I was 18 when I got to Georgia Tech ... and, suddenly, I became a little more famous and way more broke. In high school, I was allowed to make a few bucks here and there. In college, if I accepted a free jacket because I was cold, my school and my teammates would suffer the consequences.
That’s how college basketball works. It weighs on you.
I still remember trying to figure out how to get groceries when we didn’t have the money to buy them, or when we didn’t have a car we could use to get to the store. I remember feeling hype when the program would buy us Papa John’s for our home games — because it was better than the mystery meat that seven-foot prospects sustained ourselves on in the cafeteria. I remember walking a mile or so back to campus one night after a women’s game with my roommate and teammate, Jarrett Jack. It was my first winter in Atlanta, and we had just missed the school shuttle, the Stinger, because it stopped running around 9:30. Without enough in our bank accounts to pay for a cab to drive us that cold-ass mile back to the dorms, we both lost it. I remember Jarrett throwing up his hands and yelling in frustration, “This is not what college is supposed to be about!”
Unfortunately, that’s the reality a lot of college athletes still face today.
We could spend hours debating the intrinsic value of a scholarship, medical and travel expenses, top-notch coaching, and more, but in my mind, the decision to allow college athletes to profit off their name, image, and likeness can be deconstructed at a much lower level.
Don’t get me wrong, whether at the professional or amateur level, the business of sports depends on capitalism. The entire economic model is built on it. Rightfully so, in my opinion.
But think about it this way…
The NCAA is currently allowed to experiment with commercialism and free-market economics but maintain its status as a non-profit educational institution at the same time, all while not properly compensating student-athletes in return.
Does that make any sense?
To be fair, a million different proposals are being floated around. Some experts want to keep an education-based system, while others believe we should put college sports within a free-market economic model like pro sports.
While I imagine it probably ends up somewhere in between, I won’t pretend to know the answer. No one does. For me, I’m more focused on increasing the number of options amateur athletes have in the meantime.
Programs like Overtime Elite and the NBA G League, where amateur players will not only be adequately compensated but provided real-life skills training on budgeting, investing, and more, are obvious options.
In the end, I believe amateur athletes should be presented with the most amount of options possible, educated on what makes each inherently good or bad, and make the decision that is best for themselves and their family.
Have a great day, and we’ll talk tomorrow.
Chris Bosh talks through a lot of these discussion points in his op-ed while providing real-life experiences throughout. You can check out the full article here.
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