There is nothing that has garnered as much attention in the world of collegiate sports then the treatment of college athletes by the NCAA. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA is the governing body that oversees all of collegiate sports from over 1,000 universities. In the past, the NCAA has come under fire for making money off of the talent of unpaid athletes and exploiting their image without compensating them. Now the NCAA faces another challenge, how can they restart the money machine with a pandemic in the midst.
It isn’t hard to see why it’s so important to the NCAA for collegiate sports to start up next year. The NCAA makes over a billion dollars annually from collegiate sports, but with the threat of COVID-19, the NCAA is faced with a lot more at stake. Is it worth the risk to the health and safety of these talented student athletes just to try and upstart a season?
The trouble is the highest revenue sports are the ones that usually involve the most up-close contact. Impact sports like football and basketball are the highest grossing sports. The average school will generate $31.9 million dollars from football and $8.1 million dollars from basketball a year. However, the consequences of this in the context of COVID-19 is that schools are pushing for these teams to have a season. There have been multiple schools who have invited these teams to come back to train in closed campuses, and while they adhere to health guidelines, these prove to be not enough. Texas Tech has reported 23 football players testing positive with corona-virus. At Clemson University, the cases on the football team jumped from 23 to 37 within a month proving just how contagious this disease is. The trouble is that many athletes are asked to put their health on the line for these sports. Some schools like Southern Methodist University in Texas are having athletes sign a liability waiver to relieve the college of any responsibility should athletes get COVID-19 while doing on-campus voluntary workouts. Even in the face of a pandemic, it seems the NCAA continues to exploit their student athletes for their own benefit.
Corona-virus has shaken up the world of collegiate sports considerably. There have already been almost 100 collegiate-sports teams cut due to budget cuts necessary to deal with the loss of revenue from cancelled seasons. From Division I teams, 19 teams were cut, and from Division II and III, 78 teams were cut. That is a lot of displaced student-athletes who are not only facing the challenges of online schooling and uncertain futures, but have lost their place in the sport they have cherished. Now programs that are still standing are willing to sacrifice the health of their athletes for a college season. Sports are a wonderful thing. They bring people together and provide an outlet for young adults. However, the reason that college sports bring in so much revenue is because of the collegiate athletes that carry so much talent and potential. Talent and potential that are at stake if the athlete is exposed to COVID-19.
The NCAA has announced that D-1 summer basketball activities can begin starting July 20th and many other sports have been allowed on campus since June 15th. However with cases on the rise and the spread of the virus among college-athletes on campus, the NCAA should really rethink their stance.