The sham of amateurism has permeated the American sports landscape for far too long. This isn’t just a college thing. High school football across sections of this country has gotten so large, reports of multi-million dollar stadiums and use of instant replay don’t shock the system. Youth travel teams have become big business. Ask yourself this, who are the ones truly profiting from all this?
We can argue it’s “for the kids”. It’s hard to be against “the kids”, but let’s not delude ourselves. There’s money to be made off their talent and this perverse notion of community pride that comes from local sports teams being good. Academic success or a state title in football? I know which is preferred.
Per usual, the idea of “doing it the right way” has been the rallying cry of many, especially amongst certain fanbases that think they’re above the cesspool. Nah, you’ve been knee deep in it for years exploiting young athletes for financial gains for your institution of choice and/or fandom and pride. Kid gets hurt or leaves? Eh, they’re replaceable or a villain.
Remarkably, the answer seems to be Roy Williams or Coach K condemning the cheaters from some quarters. That they need to be the leaders. I can’t comprehend how naive or stupid that is. If you don’t think either have had “help” along the way in their journey, you might be the stupidest person alive. On top of that, you’ve made them who they are with your placing them on a pedestal for decades. Spare me the self-righteousness now.
It’s time for us as a nation to understand the business of sports and quit the sham of amateurism. It’s time for kids that want to be in sports either as players or in any capacity to be given the tools and resources at young ages to do so. That means money going to them, not just to those around them and the organizations they have to partake in. It’s time to end the NCAA and big college sports. It’s time for real developmental leagues and academies. It’s time to adopt an European model when it comes to youth and sports.
If the end all solution you want is to retain the “amateur model”, then you want the Ivy League model. If not, don’t hold your nose up when the exploited, disadvantaged financially want their cut. And don’t hold your nose when institutions who swim in cash from “amateur sports” cut corners to sustain success. Losing with pride equals losing your job. And who leads the charge? The same middle-aged white journalists aghast at the court case they’re witnessing.