NCAA, March Madness and Labor Equality for All

Dr. Boyce Watkins writes on Black Blue Dog that from a university professor's perspective, the money made on the backs of students who should be focusing on their education is unfair and harmful.

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Albany's Great Danes prepare against Duke. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

College basketball players often feel honored to showcase their skill in competitions like March Madness, but Dr. Boyce Watkins writes on Black Blue Dog that from a university professor's perspective, the money made on the backs of students who should be focusing on their education is unfair and harmful.

As a Finance Professor, educator and a black man, I will just say this:  This system is financially corrupt.  No one turns on an NCAA tournament game to see the coach, they only want to see the players.  If that's the case, then why does the coach walk home with a seven figure salary while the star player's mother is struggling to pay her bills?  Would the coach accept a scholarship in exchange for a $3 million dollar salary?  I think not.

Secondly, I can say that after teaching for 20 years on college campuses with big time athletics programs, the schedule of a professional athlete often keeps players away from fully pursuing their academic responsibilities.  I'll never forget the time I tutored a student who told me that his coaches asked him to change his major to find one that was more suitable for his football schedule. The coaches looked at me like a lunatic for suggesting that perhaps he was in college to study and not just play football.

Third, as a black man, I can say that this is the second -most racially-exploitative system in America behind the Prison Industrial Complex.  In both cases, a set of illogical laws have been put in place to extract billions of dollars in labor from a group of people without giving them fair compensation.  A massive amount of wealth is taken from the African American community every single year, as our greatest athletes run and jump for all-white crowds and corporate sponsors who get rich from our extraordinary talent.

Read Dr. Boyce Watkins' entire piece at Black Blue Dog.

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