Thought I’d throw this opinion piece out there for you to chew on. It’s the author’s perspective that’s most interesting.
… I can’t endorse a system that exploits football and basketball players so that “nonrevenue” athletes like me — runners, tennis players, golfers, gymnasts, swimmers — can both play and study.
Unlike college athletes who bring in revenue, nonrevenue athletes get to earn quality degrees. We are the beneficiaries of college athletics. Meanwhile, the professionalism required of big-time college football and basketball athletes leaves no time for the “student” part of the student-athlete equation.
As an undergraduate student and track and field athlete at University of North Carolina, I was the prototypical athlete you learn about in NCAA messaging: Elite athletics enhanced my education as I earned my degree to “go pro” in something other than sports.
So, then, she’s a Title IX baby who had her place paid for by the revenue generating sports. She’s honest about that, along with how the demands on the student-athletes in those sports were different from those on her.
I embraced the weekly grind of the college athlete lifestyle, much like they did. I hit hard workouts, lifted weights and completed my prehab and rehab in the training room. But, unlike them, my sport responsibilities ended there. While they memorized playbooks, studied films and fulfilled media obligations, I escaped to the library in what became a love affair with history.
Thanks to the labor of football and basketball players, I did not pay for college, took full advantage of attending one of the top public universities in the nation, and traveled to cool places on the school’s dime.
She goes on to make a Jim Crow analogy that I’ll leave for another discussion, but my main question is more generic: if her situation, which essentially was a full ride for a certain commitment level, is considered a baseline, is it really fair to limit consideration for student-athletes required to provide much greater contributions time-wise and effort-wise in sports that generate large sums of revenue for schools to a level that isn’t that much higher?