UNIVERSITIES EXPLOIT STUDENT-ATHLETES
(P1) When the COLLEGIATE sports season KICKS OFF again this week millions of Americans will be TUNING IN to watch football and basketball games – but most will be blind to the off-screen struggles faced by players. While television companies and colleges RAKE IN billions of dollars in REVENUE from their labor, very little of that revenue FILTERS DOWN to college athletes.
(P2) A recent study by the National College Players Association revealed typical college players must pay more than $3,000 a year OUT OF POCKET for daily expenses – while the MARKET VALUE of collegiate basketball and football athletes is more than $6bn.
(P3) Instead of getting a GENUINE “free academic ride” via scholarships, many who do graduate EMERGE with a mountain of debt from having to cover living costs. Many student-athletes never graduate at all. Academic scholarships can be REVOKED for minor INFRACTIONS or even sports-related INJURIES.
(P5) What happens when college athletes get injured for life? People incorrectly assume they are fully covered by health insurance. But neither the NCAA nor the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (governing small athletics programs like Cal Lutheran) requires schools to provide full and ADEQUATE health coverage. Many former athletes are stuck with BURDENSOME medical bills for long-term sports-related injuries. The NCAA recently argued it is not legally responsible to protect college athletes from injury – a duty that professional sports leagues have accepted, ALBEIT RELUCTANTLY. Since they are CLASSIFIED as student athletes instead of employees, the NCAA also DENIES them WORKERS’ COMPENSATION.
(P6) Unfortunately, these labor issues are UNLIKELY to be ADDRESSED anytime soon. In a UNANIMOUS decision on August 17, the National Labor Relations Board dealt a SETBACK to efforts by Northwestern University football players seeking to be recognized as employees so they could be ELIGIBLE to UNIONIZE.
(P7) The NLRB’s PRETEXT for denying private college athletes the right to a union – that this would treat them differently than athletes on public university campuses – is BOGUS. The NLRB has frequently allowed graduate student teaching assistants to organize at private institutions without considering the comparison with public schools. Why should it be different with college athletes?
(P8) Other fears are equally SPURIOUS, such as professionalism of college athletics RUINING the competitive nature of collegiate sports by offering unfair advantages to big revenue generating schools. Large universities such as Ohio State and University of Southern California already enjoy these advantages.
(P9) All of these young men and women student athletes – or workers – continue to be EXPLOITED as a result of this OBSTRUCTIONISM. Instead of DUCKING its responsibility, the NLRB should rule on whether or not these players are employees entitled to collectively organize. These athletes have the right to improve their working conditions and have a voice over decisions that PROFOUNDLY affect their playing and the rest of their lives. We owe it to them.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Do you think that university athletes are genuine students, or are they really employees?
- The two biggest sports on American university campuses are men’s basketball and football. Do you enjoy watching these sports?
- Although soccer is more popular around the world than American football, the LATTER sport is being played in more countries than ever. Is American football played in your country?
- Are labor unions an important FORCE for workers in your country?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Kick off
- Tune in
- Rake in
- Filter down
- Out of pocket
- Market value
- Workers’ compensation