What are all of those fans at college football and basketball games cheering for? Are they cheering for the school? The players? That the players work more than forty-hour weeks and still have to go to classes, practices, and workouts? Are they cheering the five billion dollar industry of College Athletics, of which the players, many who come from working class families, don’t see a dime?
When Curt Flood took Major League Baseball to task, it would end with the players forming a union. Unions are only formed when the workers in an industry feel so exploited that the only recourse is to band together and negotiate terms for all workers. The people who are angry at or criticize CAPA want what as an alternative? The pleasure of watching literal slaves on the field? We can’t hate pros who we feel are “overpaid” and at the same time think the student athlete who earns nothing is “ungrateful” when he or she asks that they get a perk more substantial than an often dubious degree and all the keggers they can fit in four years.
What CAPA is doing is historic, for all the right reasons. The last time students organized against a large, oppressive institution, they changed they world. It could happen again. Compensation of student athletes is not only fair, but it is the moral thing to do. Will there be a negative side to this equation, if student athletes are indeed paid salaries? Of course there will, but that doesn’t mean they should be able to send home more to their parents than a game ball.