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viewpoint

What if . . .

| Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What if I told you there’s a multi-billion dollar industry that pays its laborers pennies on the dollar?

What if I told you these laborers work 50-60 hours a week?

What if I told you these laborers don’t receive workers compensation for being injured on the job?

What if I told you these laborers are overwhelmingly from minority backgrounds?

What if I told you many of these laborers come from the lowest-rung of the socioeconomic ladder?

What if I told you the supervisors of these laborers have salaries that average $2 million a year?

What if I told you the executives of this multi-billion dollar industry make over $1.5 million a year?

What if I told you these laborers have a maximum wage, instead of a minimum wage?

What if I told you these laborers sometimes don’t have enough money for food?

What if I told you these laborers can be punished for receiving “improper benefits” such as too much pasta?

What if I told you these laborers have a higher than average chance of suffering brain damage from their job?

What if I told you these laborers have no say on their working conditions?

What if I told you these laborers can’t leave their job and get a new one within one year because it is against the industry’s rules, not the law?

What if I told you these laborers are in higher demand than people with Harvard degrees?

What if I told you these laborers must wear promotional uniforms to make their supervisor money, but they see none of that money?

What if I told you these laborers are used in marketing campaigns, but receive $0 in compensation?

What if I told you these laborers meet the definition of indentured servants?

What if I told you economists from Stanford consider this industry a cartel?

What if I told you this multi-billion dollar industry received tax-exempt status from the government?

What if I told you this multi-billion dollar industry was the NCAA?
Sean Fitzgerald

senior

Dillon Hall

April  11

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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  • Matt

    Tricky issue, this one is. It makes sense that football players should get paid, but there are some significant hurdles on the way to that. So let’s say football players are counted as student workers. I don’t know any student workers that get scholarships, so would scholarships disappear and be replaced by salary? Does making football players student workers with the promise of money make football their primary focus instead of their schooling? Is football already their primary focus in the fall semester? However universities/NCAA decide to pay its players, will it be a flat rate for all schools? What about non-football athletes–will they get paid, or will it just depend on how much their sport makes for the school? Use of likeness in NCAA games seems simple enough, the NCAA should pony up some dough for that regardless, so that’s not really a question.

  • Roy

    Oh, those poor, poor, oppressed college athletes. Forced to accept hundreds of thousands of dollars from the school. Unfairly treated as gods by everyone around them. Won’t somebody please think of the athletes?

    • nah

      You need to think of this in the context of how much they make for the school. I’m gonna take a shot in the dark and guess that you are in favor of almost if not entirely unfettered free market capitalism. How do you square that belief with this one?

      • Tom

        You think the players bring value? Every team other than football and basketball is a net drain on revenue. How many players on the football team do you think are worth more than $60,000-$80,000 per year?

        Football isn’t lucrative because of the players – it’s lucrative because of loyal alumni willing to shell out money. If the NFL created a D league players would quickly learn what their market value is.

  • Tom

    What if I told you a college baseball player’s market value is far less than full tuition at Notre Dame. It’s not you that provides the value – it’s the universities with large, loyal alumni bases. You can go play in the minor leagues if you want to find out how much you’re worth.