Jerry Rice Commercial Highlights NCAA Hypocrisy
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Sports

For College Athletes, A Degree Is Not As Valuable As A Paycheck

It's time for the NCAA to start owning up to its true nature.

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For College Athletes, A Degree Is Not As Valuable As A Paycheck
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I was watching TV the other day, being especially unproductive when an NCAA commercial came on that got under my skin. Jerry Rice, Hall of Fame NFL wide receiver is talking while a montage of historically great professional sports moments juxtaposed with scenes of aspiring college athletes plays in the background. Rice states that only two percent of the 480,000 American college athletes will go pro in their sport, meaning that over 470,000 will not get a shoe contract, sign autographs, fly in private jets, have fan clubs, or be inducted into any Halls of Fame.

Instead, he reassures us, they will receive something much more valuable. While not saying it explicitly, the NCAA is implying that a college degree is more valuable than anything a college athlete will experience professionally. Come on man.

You're telling me that graduating with a 2.5 GPA with a BA in sociology is just as valuable as a million dollar shoe deal or a rookie signing bonus? When you show me the degree that can get you $400,000 right out of college then I'll believe you. While in college, their sport is literally their job. Between morning workouts, afternoon workouts, eating enough food, and perfecting their on-the-field craft in order to bring in more money for the organization enslaving them, they have hardly the time to make anything other than barely passing grades in a major that will mean nothing after graduation compared to even the smallest rookie deal.

Obviously there are exceptions but on the whole, these kids don't care about a degree and neither should we. We're lying to ourselves if we think the NCAA is anything other than a money making organization, let alone one that cares the slightest about the education of its athletes. The sport is their education. I'm not saying these kids aren't smart. In fact, they're geniuses, just in no way that our society values which is odd considering the revenue that college and professional sports rake in. College football is making $7.3 billion over the next 12 years from ESPN alone and almost everyone at their mercy clearly sees the farce for what it is.

Mack Brown, former Texas football coach and current television analyst stated that "When you hear presidents and athletic directors talk about character and academics and integrity, none of that really matters. The truth is, nobody has ever been fired for those things. They get fired for losing."

It's not that the money or the organization itself is inherently bad, just that some honesty wouldn't hurt. Elite athletes don't care about school. Schools hardly even about school. They care about money and winning and that's okay if we own up to it.

These athletes' brains haven't developed to be inquisitive about science or technology or to compose a piece of music or a novel that can elicit the deepest of emotions. Instead they're geniuses at fooling a defender into thinking they're going one way, only to stop on a dime and cut back with lightning quickness, leaving the defender in the dust, or throwing a ball just over the outstretched reach of another elite athlete, and give it the perfect trajectory to land in a hoop 18 inches in diameter. Let a math major try to figure out the curve of that parabola.

Listen, I love sports with a burning passion which is why I am taking the time to write this article in the first place, but I hate blind hypocrisy even more. Just pay them like the professionals they are or let that "priceless" degree somehow reflect their life's work.

We have to start by acknowledging and compensating these kids in some way that is comparable to the popularity they've brought the organization because you're right Jerry Rice, only two percent will make it, meaning that 98 percent will have wasted the first quarter of their lives on something that gave them nothing in return but a pat on the back.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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