Amateur Athletics (Point Counterpoint) by Alan Marzilli

By Alan Marzilli

A few worry that the commercialism surrounding activities is corrupting the kids who play them.

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4 percent spent on general educational expenses. 9 million, but when institutional support—spending by the university on the athletic program—was not considered, then the average amount lost by a Division I-A athletic program was $600,000. 37 Critics believe that big-time college sports are harmful to a university’s academic standards and reputation. Worse, many sports programs drain money from academics because any profits are used to support athletics, while the university must make up for the losses run up by too many sports programs.

In their criticism of the NCAA’s “amateur myth,” Allen Sack and Ellen Staurowsky write that college sports in the United States are not truly “amateur” because athletes are selected and compensated (through scholarships and illegal benefits from boosters) for their athletic performance rather than their scholastic ability. By contrast, they write: “Sport at schools such as Oxford and Cambridge was (and is today) organized by and for the recreation of the players themselves. . Sport in British schools was not professional entertainment for the masses.

CntrPnt2 12/31/03 10:23 AM Page 63 Athletic Programs Exploit Young People, Especially Minorities universities where they cannot meaningfully participate academically, and the problem is only made worse by the demands of game and practice schedules. Problems are especially pronounced among African-American athletes in revenue-generating sports such as football and men’s basketball. Point3 12/31/03 10:25 AM Page 64 Athletes Deserve a Share of the Money in Big-Time Sports I n 1992, the University of Michigan men’s basketball program shocked the sports world by taking a team with freshmen players starting at all five positions all the way to the championship game.

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