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Anthony Davis is the 99 percent

Daniel Azic | Thursday, March 29, 2012

There is a striking resemblance between what sociologist Dr. Harry Edwards calls “the Civil Rights Movement for our times” and the Occupy Wall Street movement that has been taking place since October of last year. The 99 percent are college athletes. The exploitation of their services without any pay is ludicrous, seeing that college athletics has turned into a huge money machine. Some big-name college athletes need to muster up the courage to do something about these injustices. And what better stage than March Madness?

This is a call to the players of Louisville, Kentucky, Ohio State, and Kansas for this coming weekend: don’t play your Final Four game. Protest these injustices. Show up to the game and right before it starts, grab a microphone. Demand that unless you make some of the billions in revenues created by March Madness, you won’t play. Simple as that. You have the power here.

Just imagine Jared Sullinger or Thomas Robinson performing such an act. It may upset us fans for a day or two, but it would send a message that should have been sent out years ago. It would call out the NCAA for the fraud they are pulling on us with the phrases “amateurism” and “student-athlete.”

If the NCAA’s goal was to promote student-athletes, why would they allow for college basketball players to leave after only one year of college? Why not allow them to go professional straight out of high school? Could it be that they did not want to lose a year of unpaid, world-class services?

The money being raked in by coaches, administrators, universities and media outlets such as ESPN is ridiculous. In 2010, Kentucky’s conference, the SEC, became the first to make over a billion dollars in a year. The revenue brought in from ticket sales, merchandise and television contracts has made college athletics one of the biggest businesses in the country. The players that keep college sports running are making squat in return. Something needs to be done.

For a specific example in these teams, look no further than the top player in the country and the projected first-overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft – Anthony Davis. He has led the Wildcats to their best year in decades. What does he have to show for it? A year of pointless tuition, seeing that he will leave for the NBA at the end of the year. What’s his coach making for all the hard work Davis has put in? A measly $4.5 million. If it weren’t for the one year out of high school rule that was adopted by the NBA, Davis would be making millions right now in the NBA. Instead, he’s not making a penny.

I’m calling you out, Anthony. Sit out Saturday’s game. Let the NCAA know that their days of exploitation are numbered. You can make a change for the 99 percent.

Contact Daniel Azic at dazic@nd.edu

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.