Student. Athlete. Mogul?
January 24, 2023 10:16 AM   Subscribe

This post was deleted for the following reason: -- poster's request loup

His ability to work toward a degree while making money from basketball seems like a successful outcome for everyone concerned. But it comes with unexpected consequences. Some of his deals, like those of his teammates, are with advertisers and boosters who previously supported North Carolina athletics in the only way that was permitted: by giving money to the athletic department. Those payments helped subsidize other teams on campus that don’t generate enough revenue to cover their costs, which is just about all of them. Now [UNC athletic director] Cunningham doesn’t have that money to spend

I was wondering how long it would take the interests of capital to start concern-trolling about paid student athletes. We've seen plenty of ink spilled about the purity of the sport being somehow compromised, but this is the first time I've seen a major paper openly take this angle. Paying student-athletes is zero-sum! If sponsors don't have to launder their money through the athletic department, it'll hurt the other sports, and probably Title IX, somehow! We are outraged!
posted by Mayor West at 10:35 AM on January 24 [8 favorites]

Maybe they could find revenue sources that don't involve other people's unpaid labor?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 10:49 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]

> Now [UNC athletic director] Cunningham doesn’t have that money to spend

having taught at a d1 basketball institution in the past, the happiest outcome would be if this starved the athletics departments of cash entirely. why are our colleges part of the pipeline to professional sports? the nba and the nfl should have to build up their own minor league systems instead of living parasitically off the tuition and public revenues of higher education. and while some of these athletes really do thrive both academically and athletically, that is incredibly rare. instead what i remember is the star athlete having a kind of handler who came to my "office" (the adjunct bullpen) to explain to me why actually i can't give them an F despite missing nearly all class sessions and only turning in a handful of assignments. I don't blame the kid, he was onto greater things than a critical thinking requirement could offer. But the whole thing felt wrong and i know i'm not the only one who felt dirtied by it.
posted by dis_integration at 10:59 AM on January 24 [10 favorites]

Maybe they could find revenue sources that don't involve other people's unpaid labor?

Like schools partnering with betting companies to promote online sports gambling to their students? Thank God these colleges are fighting to preserve the integrity of student athletics in the face of these greedy players taking sponsorship deals.
posted by star gentle uterus at 11:08 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]

Maybe they can start cutting the salaries of coaches, who are often the highest paid state employee, to free up some funding for the program?
posted by msbutah at 11:25 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]

Ok, it was nice that there was previously a way that this was supporting what I (from outside the US) think of as the "normal" college sports activities i.e. the non-commercial ones. Yes, this meant that volleyball and track were effectively funded by the money-making football/basketball teams at some colleges which was great for people doing those sports.

But... the fact that the fencing team always had great gear is a little hard to weigh up against the fact that this was made possible by the unpaid labour of others. Especially since participants in non-revenue sports are realistically much closer to the ideal of the student-athlete than the often academically struggling revenue-sports athletes.

In many cases, this was literally poor black kids getting their brains scrambled to pay for middle class white kids to row in nice new shells every year. Which... we have a name for that...
posted by atrazine at 11:33 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]

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