Web Letters | The Nation

Colleges are the minor leagues for the NFL and NBA

Colleges will claim that football and basketball make money for only a few of the elite sports schools. Don’t be fooled. The value of sports to a university is “off the books.” Alumni stay in the contribution pool and provide larger donations because of their continued loyalty to their alma mater’s sports teams. Of course, the TV money and product sales shared by athletic conferences don’t hurt either.

If colleges are to remain the minor leagues for the NFL and NBA, Dave Zirin’s wish list comes up short. The following additional protections should be added:

1. The NBA and the NFL should pay a standard wage to all “student” athletes; all should recieve the same amount; TV and other promotional funds should go into that compensation pool.

2. Colleges should guarantee an education; athletes who are less than stellar scholars cannot do their day job, football or basketball player, and do justice to their education. If they do not advance in their pursuit of professional sports, the college should guarantee an appropriate education.

Asher Fried

Croton-on-Hudson, NY

Mar 18 2013 - 11:02am