The Myth of the Student Athlete

Well, it's the weekend of the Final Four once again (for those of you outside the United States, it's a national basketball tournament of major universities). I'd be more excited if any of my teams made it out of the second round, but alas, they did not. And not even a Cinderella among this year's group. So, because I'm bitter about their poor showings, I feel the need to rehash a conversation I've had with my girlfriend several times -- arguing against this false belief that these kids are somehow scholar athletes. NCAA Division I basketball is about money, first and foremost. Just because the students aren't literally paid a salary to perform doesn't change this fact...the advertising and sponsorship, the coaches salaries, the shoe company contracts -- all of them involve massive amounts of money. Along with the money comes the potential to corrupt, and to succumb to pressures that might not normally be so tempting. It's unfortunate, but it's reality and the sooner people stop thinking all the kids at Duke are 1600 SAT scoring choirboys, the better. This article that appeared in the New York Times has caused some ruffled feathers because it seems like they're picking on Georgetown, but the truth is things like this happen at every major program in this country. There's no way to consistently win at a high level without taking players who are a liability from an educational standpoint. It happens, and I think deep down everyone recognizes this.