Ralph Nader: Athletic Scholarships Should Be Eliminated

The consumer advocate says that steps should be taken to "de-professionalize" college sports.

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Consumer advocate Nader wants to end athletic scholarships. (Getty Images)

Consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader is on that stuff. Black America Web is reporting that Nader is calling for the elimination of college athletic scholarships, saying the move is necessary to "de-professionalize" college athletes.

"As we near the exciting conclusion of 'March Madness' -- which would more accurately be described as the 2011 NCAA Professional Basketball Championships -- it's time we step back and finally address the myth of amateurism surrounding big-time college football and basketball in this country," said Nader, whose League of Fans is proposing that the scholarships be replaced with need-based financial aid.

NCAA spokesman Bob Williams said that referring to college athletes as professionals defies logic. "They are students, just like any other student on campus who receives a merit-based scholarship," he said.

Nader argued that his plan would also help reduce the win-at-all-costs mentality in high schools, by reducing the incentive of college scholarships.

In a perfect world, Nader's idea makes sense. However, in the real world, athletic scholarships often serve as incentives to go to college, not just to play sports. Fixating on basketball and football as opposed to all of the other sports -- some of which are less popular and will not result in becoming a professional athlete -- is shortsighted, to say the least.

Perhaps Nader should be focusing on the cost of attending NCAA basketball tournaments and football bowl games. Consumers are getting reamed at the ticket office and concession stands. We won't even mention merchandising, including video games. We can forget the scholarships and go for athletes getting paid instead. The disparity between the money that the NCAA, schools and coaches pull in relative to what the players get in the form of scholarships is reprehensible.

Read more at Black America Web.

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