Is it unpaid if you get an athletic scholarship though?
What's the ratio between the value provided to the students and the value provided to the NCAA / schools? How much money are they generating?
If the answer is "lopsided," isn't that an artificial market condition created to greatly advantage the owners and greatly disadvantage the laborers in this scenario? It's not "slavery" -- the word the previous poster was alluding to -- but isn't it similar to indentured servitude?
How many of these "student athletes" graduate? How many of them end up with gainful employment as a result of the great education they're getting?
How many of these "student athletes" would ever go to college at all if it weren't for this arrangement that requires them to do so for a year or two in order to pursue their actual career aspiration, i.e. professional sports?
At the very least the elite tier schools that enjoy the benefits of having these star amateur athletes wearing their uniforms should be required to create a separate school & program for students that intend to go into sports as a career. There should be a system created for allowing the students to go on learning and working toward their degrees even after they go pro and stop playing for the school. And there should be a penalty paid by the school for any scholarship athlete that doesn't end up earning their degree.
Oh, and the schools should be required to provide medical coverage for any and all injuries sustained during the course of playing sports for the benefit of the schools. Including cumulative injuries that are only discovered later. That medical coverage should last for life, and the schools should be required to pay compensation to the students for any lasting disability resulting from injuries the students sustain.
But what is that ratio for professionals? Do you think the league makes more off LeBron than his $33M salary (or whatever it is)? Nike pays Jordan like $100M a year still, you donít think they are making more off him than that?
What about the scholars that bring in more money for the school? Should they be compensated beyond a full academic scholarship?
I personally am not a huge college fan so maybe Iím wrong, but arenít the programs what create the money, not necessarily the individual players themselves? Like did Kentucky suffer by not having Fultz play for them? Did UCLA crumble when Ball left? Think of the ramifications of a star like LeBron leaving the Cavs.
The reason schools enjoy these star amateur athletes at their school is because of the pro leagues rules that require they be X years removed from high school. They DO receive the benefit of learning the game and enhancing their skills. Iíve never heard of a case where a player would have been so much better had he jumped straight to the pros instead of going to college.
So the non stars get a free education, and the stars hone their skills. It may not be fair value, but itís certainly not nothing.