Athletes Take On Exploitation, Amateurism, Putting Self-Preservation First

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This message comes from on point sponsor, indeed if you're hiring with indeed you can post a job in minutes set up screener questions than zero in on your shortlist of qualified candidates using an online dashboard get started at indeed dot com slash NPR podcast. From WBRC, Boston and NPR Meghna, Chalker birdie, and this is on point. He's the one million dollar intern high school basketball phenom Darius Baizley, he de committed from Syracuse and signed a huge deal with new balance to train for a year before the NBA draft. He's foregoing that one and done season. In college basketball. Here's his agent Rich Paul who also represents LeBron James now going to see here say, hey, everyone should follow this path. This was just a right path for dairies Basie and his family, but it could be part of a growing trend athletes taking ownership and agency over their futures on the field and the court college football players, for example, refusing to play in bowl games, the NFL's Levy on bell sitting out a year during his prime the WNBA players union opting out of a collective bargaining agreement over concerns about revenue sharing pay equity and transparency. So this hour on point athletes, take on 'exploitation amateurism, and perhaps putting self-preservation I and you can join. In us are these athletes right to take charge when their livelihood and health are on the line should owners and management push back. Do you buy the idea that these athletes are even being exploited has the multibillion dollar sports industry gotten out of control? Join us anytime on point radio dot org or Twitter and Facebook at on point radio. We'll joining us today from Washington is Kevin Blackstone, ESPN panelist and professor of sports journalism at Philip Merrill, college of journalism at the university of Maryland. He also writes sports commentary for the Washington Post, Kevin Blackstone. Welcome back to one point for you. So you are definitely the inspiration for this hour. I have to say because at the tail end of last year, we caught your sort of prediction for twenty nineteen that you wrote in the Washington Post, and I have to say most of the time kind of like, yeah, I'm not sure how much stock to put into predicts with especially in this day and age, but you wrote this very provocative couple of paragraphs where you say that could there be a r-. Rise in the number of athletes or associations that are pushing back against being exploited by leagues and teams. What do you mean? Well, I just think that collectively athletic talent is starting to understand their own agency and their own power. And the amazing thing is that that's always been the case with the professional ranks, and it slowly has become the case with a college athletes. But now you start to see a drifting down to high school athletes, and one of the reasons, of course, for all of this is the amount of money that is involved in all these sports. And when you think about high school, you say, well, it's not much money in high schools, but in fact, over the past few years, there's been more and more as shoe companies like Under Armour and Nike have invested in in. In high school sports as a high school sports leagues have have cut contract deals to be televised on places like ESPN. And then as those athletes have been shopped around to colleges for more and more money. You kind of understand how people start to take a step back and understand their role as cogs in this college athletic industrial complex. So I think because of that and because of what the examples that have been set by some others in previous years. I just see this becoming more and more of a conflict, right? More more of a struggle as these athletes start to to coalesce and fight for what they believe is there's against ownership and management. So so you mentioned high school athletes, and we played that little bit of. Tape from Darius bays lease agent. Just a second ago. I want to hear more about Bazeley story. So in October Bazeley agent Rich Paul told ESPN that Darius was going to forego college. And instead take a one million dollar internship. I mean, you were talking about shoo Comey's before he's taking this one million dollar internship with new balance. So let's listen to a little bit of that. We're talking about a system here and has been broken for a long time and these kids and the families need option, and for me, I come from the athlete side where I'm always trying to find out. How do I do was best for the athlete not necessarily from me per se? And so, you know, the the comments are, you know, again, he's part of a system. Part of a system that they've been able to control for a long time. That's Rich, Paul. Darius bays lease agent. First of all tells Kevin tell us more about Darius himself. Who is he obviously, he's a basketball finorm, right? He's a he's he's one of a number of of high school aged basketball fee noms in this country who was being recruited by all manner of of colleges in the country. He was the number thirteen prospect on ESPN's twenty eighteen recruiting lists. He had originally said that he was going to play for coach Jim boeheim at Syracuse. And then he said in March that he was going to instead play for the NBA's minor league system known as the G league. And the G league recently announced that it was going to increase it salary for. It's most marketable talent. Like, maybe a Beasley to one hundred twenty five thousand dollars, and then a little bit later he came out with Chris with Paul who happens to be a LeBron James agent and said that they were working on this new deal where he would actually be an intern for new balanced train for a year and then declare for. For the NBA draft in twenty nineteen. And remember there is a rule between or a collusion between colleges in the NBA which says that a player has to be of a certain age or have to have done at least a year in college before he can come to the to the NBA. And so this was a way of of getting around this and basically Paul guaranteed him with new balance, a a a salary far greater than what the G league would have paid him certainly more than the room board and tuition and books fees that a college would have paid for him to hone his skills as a basketball player and hopefully cash in with a professional contract. So let me ask you though. I mean, I can see why Fazli saying I'm not gonna do the the NC double A's one and done system because he knows he's going to go. Oh to the NBA as you're saying. And so why spend a year in college not making any money, but perhaps making helping Syracuse make a ton of money. But so so he's making a million dollars now in this quote unquote, internship with new barrels, but certainly new balance is getting something out of it. Sure. They're getting they're getting publicity. They're getting a player who if he pans out to be great will be a face for its business in the NBA. They are also doing this above board. Because right now, we have in this country several trials one that's already taken place. A couple more that are about to come up which have charged shoo representatives for these basketball shoe companies like Nike and Adidas with federal crimes for Basie for bribing. Families in high school players, and maybe even coaches to deliver their sons to certain schools, but here new balance is doing this above board. They're saying we're going to deliver this kid to whatever team drafts him in the NBA and not even to a college. So yeah, this is an in this player is basically saying in his family great. This is a better opportunity for us as a better situation for us. And they're they're going going ahead with full steam, the, you know, Kevin. I gotta ask you mean. Obviously Darius Bazeley a star. Right. And he he's kind of a part of an extraordinary handful of of high school at show here. And yet in your in your Washington Post sort of look ahead to twenty nineteen use you wrote that as more and more athletes in the pros college and even high school, basically. Taking their balls and going home rather than accepting exploitation in the multibillion dollar sports and industrial complex. And you you say that this is a trend that could prove even more disruptive and important in two thousand nineteen. I mean, really because I mean, the Darius Baizley the world decide where else are you seeing this that makes you think world this is right? Well, he's he's he's one of just a few. But I do think that this will start to become a trend if it works out for him. I do think that that there are more and more people who look at the college system, the high school to college system as being somewhat fraudulent given all the money that these kids primarily black male kids make for these colleges and universities for their coaches for their athletic directors for their conference commissioners, and that they want a better share a more equitable share of. Of of that academy. And then not only that. But when you you know, you start to look back down the pipeline. They're also delivering a lot to the high schools for which they they they participate. It's interesting that that Paul represents LeBron James and is doing this because LeBron James could have gone down. Or did go down the same path could have gone to any similar path when he was in high school, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a junior in in high school his gains became so popular in Akron that Saint Vincent's this the college that he played at move the home games to the university of Akron where they started packing. A college gymnasium to watch the brawn James pivot play those tickets sales, of course, went back to Saint Vincent's. So they were profiting madly off of libra. James as as a teenager and a lot more schools are doing the exact same thing. A lot more athletic apparel companies are investing in high schools. And and so that's why I think you're going to see a lot more of this Lino when we come back from the break. We'll talk about how we're seeing maybe a analogous decisions made by pro athletes in the NFL and the WNBA as well. I'm speaking with Kevin Blackstone. He is ESPN panelist and professor of sports journalism at the university of Maryland, he writes sports commentary for the Washington Post, and he's presented us with this. Interesting idea. This interesting thesis that we'll see more and more athletes take agency over their own lives and their own careers shirking, for example, requirements of the NC double A or even the control that teams or leagues may have over them calls it a potentially disruptive trend in sports. This is on point. This message comes from on points sponsor, indeed when it comes to hiring. You don't have time to waste you need help getting to your shortlist of qualified candidates fast with indeed post a job in minutes. Set up screener questions then zero in on qualified candidates. And when you need to hire fast, accelerate your results with sponsor jobs. New users can try for free when you sign up at indeed dot com slash NPR, podcast, terms, conditions, and quality standards apply. Human behaviour doesn't always make a ton of sense at least on the surface. I said, would you mind if I give the dogs little piece of cracker with some hot sauce on and without and see what they choose hidden brain, a spicy podcast about science psychology. And why people do what they do. This is on point a mega truck Roberta. We're talking this hour about athletes, and perhaps more of them taking agency over their own value in the context of the leagues that they they play in and whether or not this could be a disruptive trend in sports, Kevin Blackstone, who's an ESPN panelists and professor sports journalism at the university of Maryland has written about this. And he says it could be disruptive. He's with us from Washington and before the break, Kevin, and I were talking about a high school sports, and how we we've got a handful of very talented high school players such as Darius Baizley who are going their own way rather than playing for a year in the NC double A, and then going to the NBA. So let's look over to the w NBA now because the WNBA players union has opted out of its collective bargaining agreement because of over revenue sharing pay equity and transparency issues. So for example, let's listen to Los Angeles sparks star and WNBA players association. The president's Neka Agoo McKay, she appeared on ESPN in November to talk about why they're opting out of their contract with the NBA for us. It's about the overall player experience the game isn't a game without us and foundationally I think we can work together with the league to create some infrastructural changes now really enhance both the player experience and the game. We'll joining us. Now is Terry Jackson. She's with us from New York. She's executive director of the WNBA players association. Former director of law policy and governance with the NCW as well. Terry jackson. Welcome to you. Thank you magnum. Thank you for having me. It's great to have you. So first of all, can you just explain to us for for folks who don't know the intricacies of the contracting agreement between the WNBA and the NBA here. What's what what did the players association have an issue with well, first of all that the collective bargaining agreement that the players association has is with the WNBA the it's the CBA between the w NBA the league and the. W n BPA the players association the union that that represents the players. And so there there are a number of of issues that are of concern to the players. I I would say just generally, it's it's all on the table won't really get into specifics. But for those who know this league for those who are fans of the game fans of these players. We know that you've been paying attention. We know that you've heard the players talk about what we've talked about in in our meetings with the players, and and how they have come to understand the CBA the collective bargaining agreement. It's about salary and compensation opportunities. It's about opportunities to improve the player experience. It's about opportunities to address and ensure up player, health and wellness and safety concerns. Like, I said, it's all on the table. Okay. So Kevin Blackstone jump in here. And for those of us who are as familiar with the story as perhaps we should be. I mean, you you've written for example, the pay equity issue Mattel tell it tells more about what the WNBA players association's trying to accomplish here. Well, I think like a lot of other professional women's leagues they too as I use this phrase one a more equitable deal with ownership and management. And so for WNBA players who make and Terry can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think somewhere around on average something like seventy thousand dollars a year for the season, some players make considerably more for variety of reasons primarily because they are our stars and faces of the league and then they often supplement their salary by. I playing professionally overseas or by doing some other jobs here in this country may be as maybe in journalism as as as broadcasters, and so the there's a they work in a they play in a different world, despite the fact that they play under the same umbrella as the NBA which obviously pulls in just a ton of money, and I must say makes it possible for the WNBA to exist. But last year there was a a remarkable incident. Where on the the loss Vegas aces refused to play a game after arriving here in Washington. And the reason I refused to play was because basically it took them like a day to get from an airport in Las Vegas here because of myriad pr-. Problems with connecting flights and weather and all of that. And yet they were expected to play and they refused to play because they said physically they were not ready to play. And if they did play in the physical shape that they were in they risked injury and for w NBA player to risk that sort of injury. Also would mean that she could not play overseas and pick up the additional money that she has to work for. So these kinds of problems that the WNBA needs to work out. Right. So Terry Jackson, tell tell us more about that. I mean is the is what the the Las Vegas ace's. Did is it sort of emblematic of the concerns that players have sure it is. It's it's it's definitely one example on it's an important one. And I'm happy that I'm sharing this time with with Kevin because he he shed such great light on on this story last year, and really really gave it attention. I mean, the players are speaking out, and they were on their social and and and sharing what was happening with them. I mean, every kind of. Delay possible. In terms of weather equipment. You know, a missing the connection. I mean, it it just cut mounting up. And and you're right. I mean, this to them was squarely in that in that category. We talk about player health and wellness and safety concerns. They had they had real concerns. I believe they're the members of their organization. They're training staff. Also, had some some serious concerns with with their ability to play and and to give the the fans the best performance that they could give and they were in the playoff hunt at the time. So that that was that was a real critical game for them at a real critical time, and at some point they just had to step back and say, wait a second. This is not right. This has happened before a season or two before with an Indiana team similar situation with travel. We we have to put. Spotlight on this issue. We'd have to advocate and stand up and protect ourselves on this one kind of take one for the team literally, right? Make win for the for the entire organization put the spotlight on it. And and be sure this is one of the issues that that we that we get our arms around. And and and you know, I I think the league understands it to and and opting out on November one gives that opportunity to put everything on the table and have a good discussion to the question about revenue sharing here because if I understand Cristiana again, please don't understand the intricacies of the contract process at the WNBA as much as I should so correct me if I'm wrong, but, but for example, with the NBA players get what's fifty percents of the revenue the revenue generated that the WNBA it's closer to twenty percent. Do I have that? Right. Well, you know, let me let me say this magnet. I'm I'm very Preecha tip of of the the interest. And and what the attention a lot of the writers have have put on this issue. It's for us. It's not the only one it's an important one. But it's not the only one right? And so they've they've given that attention. They've done the research and they've done their calculations on what you know is publicly available. We are of we are privy to and have available. You know, a little bit more information. Our document information exchange with the league has been very productive one. So I'm I'm not going to really, you know, get down into the specifics and nail down and the percentages on that. It's I would say it's one of the issues that we've highlighted, and it's one of the things that we're going to examine and look at in in collective bargaining. We'll Terry Jackson executive director of the WNBA players association. And former director of law policy and governance with the NCWA. Oh, by the way, Terry, I should mention that your son. Jaren Jackson junior plays for the Memphis grizzlies. Right. He does. And and in fact, my husband is a former NBA player to play twelve years in the league and ended his career with the Spurs. We are a basketball household. I'm proud to say though, I try to keep it separate my personal life informs my professional life and probably vice versa. Will Terry Jackson. Thank you. So very much for joining us today. Magnet. I appreciate it. Kevin. Thank you. Good work. So Kevin let me ask you though. We've got a lot of callers want to join us. I'll bring them in here in just a second. But, but I do wonder in in listening to what the concerns that Terry was talking about that the players association has I mean, it sounds very much like a labor dispute, right? Exactly. That's exactly what all. All of these situations are they are labor disputes. And it is the idea on the part of athletes that they are in fact labor. They're just not players in these sports that they do they generate revenue they and they are do an equitable share of those revenues as well as good treatment. And you know, Terry didn't didn't lay it out. But there's there's a guy at Forbes who's really been been following this and crunching and crunching the numbers the David berry, and he threw his research. He believes that WNBA players are getting about twenty five percent of league revenues as opposed to fifty percent of league revenues that NBA players get and obviously it'd be players make significantly more money. And I also say that WNBA women are not the only women in a pro league who are having to or have. I've decided to fight for for a better place within their sport the women's National Hockey team went on strike for for better treatment from its its federation. And and good for NHL players who came out in support of them. And they got a better deal women's soccer players have had to do the exact same thing. And they to have gotten a better deal because they stood up collectively. So you starting to see more and more of this. I think taking one's agency and an absolutely I mean, my hats off to all of these female athletes who are doing that. But you know, some of the criticism that they they have faced is well perhaps their expectations for what they get from the league's are unrealistic because if we're talking about labor disputes at a marketplace and women's leagues just aren't the revenue generators at the men's leagues are they they are not and and they understood. Stand that. But I think they also feel as if they are do better than what than what they've gotten. And then you can also look at studies which would suggest to you that also because these leagues aren't marketed and aren't as readily available and advertised over the over the broadcast platforms that we have that fewer people tune into watch and fewer people come out to buy tickets and go to games. So there's also that dynamic at play as well. Well, let's get a quick call in here. Let's go to Mike who's calling from Rochester, New York. Mike, you're on the air. Hey, how you doing head a couple of questions or comments? I guess, you know, one being the physical development of say schoolers going into this kind of furlough period of training before going into the professional sector, you know, college. I think gives them that opportunity to to physically grow and emotionally grow a little bit before getting into larger arena, but you also educational wise, you know, going into college, if they, you know, enter into the professional level and get injured now, they got a backtrack and go back into college. Whereas before they could've gotten a scholarship play and gotten their education, solidified before, you know, putting all their chips on the table for a professional, you know, career and professional career as you work your way up to sports pyramid. You know that that percentage of population in that arena, get smaller and smaller so at some point people fall out and eventually have to rely on their education to survive. And if they do this track of you. No profit sharing and and getting more money for being, you know, a high school talent, you know. I just think it limits them in the long run. Right. Well, mike. Thank you for your call. Kevin. You wanna respond to might sure. That's a that's an often heard concern. And I think they understand that. But I I've always been one to kind of separate the athletics and the academics in in in the sense that just because you are pursuing an athlete career doesn't preclude you from at the same time pursuing an academic career. I mean that is the, you know, that's what the NC double A has sold us. Right. That these that these are are athletes who are being developed athletically as well as intellectually, and we know that for a great deal of them that really is a fraudulent claim that that's not been happening. So that that is to say that, you know, just because you're playing your sport doesn't mean you have to discontinue going to school dairies Bazeley doesn't have to discontinue his education simply because he's putting in so much time and trained to become a basketball player. They're more. They're more and more. Former college players who are professional players who didn't finish their degrees for whatever reasons who are going back now in the NBA and in the NFL and finishing their degree work. And I I know some who have gone on to get their master's degrees. So I think that that's somewhat. I understand the concern. But it's somewhat of a species argument. Right. Well, I mean Darius Bazeley case, he, you know, he's foregoing college altogether for now. But perhaps not in the future. All right. Kevin hang on here for just saying because I want to bring in Robert Keough. He's joining us today from Madison Wisconsin, he's a writer in residence and program curator at upper house at the university of Wisconsin. He's editor of the literary magazine the point. He's also a former division three soccer player. He played at Wheaton college in Illinois, and he runs his own soccer in athletic training business from youth to professional athletes, Robert Keough, welcome to you. Thanks magna. See, you know, the center of gravity any conversation that has to do with athletes and exploitation in terms of the sports business, definitely tends to collapse around the NC double A. So I just was wondering what your what's your response of your thought to this what Kevin Blackstone is putting out here that he's thinks he's we're going to be seeing more athletes who were pushing back against what they see as being exploited by giant leagues organizations like the NC double A. Sure. Yeah. And it's great to be on with Kevin on one level. I think he's probably right. And I think to a large degree. There's nothing wrong with that. I mean, for example, the the the case of Darius Bazeley, I have no objection to the. Idea that a player would pursue another opportunity both for their own financial gain. And we're Kevin closed. I I completely agree with the idea that just because he would pursue a professional career straight out of high school does not mean that forecloses his opportunity on pursuing education. So there are other avenues to explore this. I think the the place that I would be concerned is the ways in which we're analyzing this issue vis-a-vis the narrative of NCA exploitation. And that's something we can discuss further. Let's pick that up when we come back. We're just gotta take a quick break here. Robert Keough standby for a second and Kevin Blackstone as well. We're talking about Kevin's thesis you that he put out late last year about twenty nineteen will we see disruptive trend in sports about athletes pushing back against against teams against against leagues against big associations. Like, the NC double A. This is on. Point. How often do people lie on dating apps in a robots taking over our jobs? I'm Cardiff Garcia co host a planet. Money's the indicator. Where everyday we tell you a short story about the economy get it on NPR one or wherever you get your podcasts. This is on point a Meghna, doctor Bardi, we're talking with our with Kevin Blackstone, and Robert Keough about this idea of athletes pushing back against what they see as exploitation from major organizations like the NC double A or big sports leagues that they play four and Robert Keough pick up your thought that you were beginning with before the break here about wanting to reframe this entire notion of within the NC double A, whether or not athletes are exploited. Sure. Yeah. And I want to do so by fully agreeing with Kevin's concern that athletes take charge of their life and fully embody their sense of person, hood and agent. See I mean, I'm I'm all for players getting the best and best deal the best and bet, you know, better invest opportunity for their life. But I think as was raised earlier in the discussion their ways in which this conversation can get muddied when we use words lake collusion. I mean, Kevin brought up the possibility of collusion between the college in the NBA with the one and done rule. I think the one and done rule is is a real mess. But it's also a rule that's principally enforced by the NBA players association. And so in effect what you have is a labor union who would rather not compete against seventeen year old or eighteen year old athletes for a spot on a team. If you're nearing the end of your career, and you see the opportunity to make even if you're at league minimum in the NBA your salary increases every year. And that's that's a lot to be looking at losing to somebody who might come in an organization could say we can pay them. Half or or considerably less and and take a risk on their future. And so I just think it's important to establish some clarity on these things because where? The the system in many ways is broken and various systems or broken. I think in our athletic and physical culture from youth all the way up to the pros. I think it's really important to establish where and how it's broken and then not necessarily capitulate to the broken nests. But to find a real concrete solutions to the problems. Well, let me get Kevin Blackstone responses that what do you think? Kevin. No, I agree with that the collusion that I speak of isn't necessarily the NBA in college officials being together in a dark room over this issue Roberts heavily right? The w the the NBA players association is protecting its its membership behind this rule by keeping out restricting potential new labor class, however colleges also benefit gr-. Greatly from this and are less likely to fight back because they get this high school superstar talent like Zion Williamson right now who's the highlight reel for ESPN every day at as a freshman at Duke to to to promote their product with. So that's the sort of collusion that that I'm talking about this is this is something that both sides see as good for them. And in the middle, of course, the teenage athletes get squeeze well. You know, I want to talk for second about collegiate athletes as well here. So let me just play some tape. This is you're gonna about you're gonna hear Shabazz Napier who now plays for the NBA's Brooklyn nets in two thousand fourteen he was yukons point guard, and he told reporters he didn't always have money for food. I don't see myself as so much of employees. New jersey. It may not have it last name on jersey. His so things like that you want some something in return. I don't think he, you know. To the athletes should get one hundred thousand dollars. You know, I like I said they are hungry nights. Now, I go to bed, and so something, you know, something can change something should change. That's shabazz. Napier in two thousand fourteen rubber Kiu responded with Napier saying I mean, I actually found this really surprised that it he's he's a Yukon point guard and saying some nights, I guess due to financial difficulties. He's going to bed hungry. Yeah. I I mean as a former college athlete at a much at 'em in a much smaller spotlights speak. I guess there were nights where I went to bed hungry too. Because I was a growing body and you can't eat enough. I mean, I just think we have to evaluate the facts though, you know, at a school like Yukon the basketball team is is gonna have catered meals before and after games and oftentimes at their facility, so that they don't have to travel, you know, to a restaurant in town. And if you've been the stores, Connecticut, you know, there aren't too many of those I so on one level. I I the the experience I can resonate with on another level. I think it's a provocative point. That's being made that the you know doesn't necessarily live up to the facts. I mean, I'm I'm sitting in a studio right now. Now that's a stone's throw away from the Kohl center where the Wisconsin men's and women's basketball team plays, and there's a there's a room in that arena. That's just for the athletes to eat. And there's a, you know, there's basically a cafeteria in the arena. So they don't have to find a Commons area on campus. They can just go right from practice to the cafeteria eat and get on the class. And so I don't I wanna make it abundantly clear. I think that nip here is is talking about something that's real which is an exploitative system. But I think we need to evaluate and carefully assess where the exploitation is actually happening, and and on what level I think some of the comments Kevin may just before I can adopt and subscribe to the problem that he's announcing but at schools like do or, you know, Maryland where he teaches or Wisconsin here. The question for me is one of institutional integrity. I mean to what degree have these? Universities. Subscribe to. A bigger is better narrative in sport. That actually has created the problem instead of upholding themselves as institutions of education, first and foremost. Athletics into that process. The answer. There's a great deal then well, pre precisely and numerous examples, which you know, Kevin could list could list off and I could list off. And he he listed one of them with Duke just a moment ago. We'll Kevin I want to give you a chance to respond to Robert. And then I'm going to bring in some more callers here. But go ahead. Kevin. Sure. So yeah. That's that's not something. I would I would argue with the the the Napier thing is interesting, though, just in his historical thing, by the way. He's he's I think is in his fifth year in the NBA, and he's now earned probably six seven million dollars. Sure. So his his pockets are straight now, you can eat, but you know, Yukon was was coach famously by Jim Calhoun? And in the round two thousand nine two thousand ten a reporter at a at a post game press conference. As Jim Calhoun about the fact that he was making one point six million dollars as the highest employees in the state for coaching basketball team. Jim Calhoun, got very very angry with that reporter, and pointed out the fact that they bring in like twelve they were bringing in like twelve fifteen million dollars in revenues to the school and yada yada, yada, which is kind of underscores once again that point about equity within the college system when you talk about basketball and football would bring in so much revenue. The fact that there could be a play on that team who would complain about being able to buy a meal and a coach on that team who would be able to defend his one point six million dollars salary is the largest in the state. And that's something that can be said in just about every state. I mean, we just watched the national college football championship, and those two coaches, Nick Sabin and Davos Sweeney are pulling in six seven million dollars a year. In fact, there assistant coaches the defensive coach for Clemson over the summer signed an eleven point six million dollar five year contract as an assistant coach. So the the the numbers in terms of of the money that everyone, but the players are making is is is just so out of line that that's one of the things that has brought pressure to bear on all of this Robert Dole head. Yes. I could just jump in. I totally agree with Kevin. And and nothing would make me happier than if chancellors of universities would walk down to their athlete department, and football and basketball offices and say. When we renegotiate your contract. Next time, you won't make more than me. I mean, I think as a first step in this process. Wh why have we agreed to this economy now in one level? I would I would defend the coaches because they're scrutinized on the same basis in many ways that professional coaches would be scrutinized and their their livelihood and salary is going to be contingent on their ability to hold a job. And so even hear what if what if athletic coaches instead of being a part of a separate class on campus were considered in the same light as faculty who have tenure. I mean, you might have a whole different relationship to the ethnic enterprise on a university campus if that was established as a I mean, an ethical in an institutional priority instead of having a cutthroat model where somebody like Nick Sabin is going to go to his chancellor and squeeze the university for more and more money every time there's a chance to renew. Negotiate a contract. Yeah. Well, let's go to some callers here before I run at time. Okay. So let's go to Bryce who's calling calling from Burlington Vermont Bryce, you're on the air. I was recently. A NCWA athlete myself ran for four years at a division two school. I'd be lying of I said, it was terribly explicatives to be how ever I think it's perfectly reasonable and even prudence at athlete to try to protect their future. Perfect protection that a potential career from to AA exploitation. I think a lot of students go into their college athletic career, picking they have not really. And I love the players. You kinda take stand look around and see what options they have as far as the tech Pechory. We'll Bryce thank you so much for your call. Let's go to Vladimir was calling from West Palm Beach, Florida. Vladimir you're on the air. Hi, yeah. Yeah. On the thing. I have to appoint Aachen bait is that on the argument that a lot of people use the house, I never sought to justify not paying the players is that they receiving an education, and as Mr. Lakers phone said before that's not necessarily the case from what I've seen a larvae stewed a lot of these student athletes are forced into you know, or less do nothing majors, and they're not really being challenged academically. They're just they're more or less to make money for the schools, and that's pretty much acme. Well, thank you for your call rubber. Do you want to respond to have let Amir saying? Yeah, I think Vladimir is is sadly, right? I mean, that's that's really the the real problem here. And why if you look at the landscape with a sober view? It's pretty. It's pretty bleak. My my suggestion here and elsewhere has simply been that. We shouldn't we shouldn't respond to the corruption by accelerating the corruption or or I mean, it would be like saying we live in a violent system. Let's drop in more violence. I think it will only increase the problem. So I think he's absolutely right. And this is an opportunity for universities and colleges to take a leadership position and preserve their their institutional credibility as higher education arenas, where students can gain education. And if they happen to be elite athletes and wanna play sports in that environment. Terrific if they don't and they want to pursue other avenues, including the ones that somebody liked areas Bazeley has pursued they should be. They should have every right to do that. And so I think the the question is one of what's the solution? And the problems are. Very evident. Well, one more call here. Andrew is calling from Spokane Washington, Andrew you're on the air. Hi, thanks for the call taking my call. I think these solution to all these problems noticing here is the fact of choice as important to notice that the only sports in college that we talk about these problems are basketball and football baseball. Hockey, tennis, visit lucrative sports and make a lot of money. But you don't hear about the athlete complaining as much or being exploited or the scandals because they have the choice of being compensated through a common scholar or they confused to go to minor league baseball system and get that training while being paid. But it's one bus ride does college to get the money for it. And if we want to solve these problems, he just kind of have developed these leaves for basketball and football players who want to be paid in education can do that. But they're not forced to. Yeah. Well, that's really the only thing missing Andrew. Thank you for your call. And for for that idea. Kevin black is to what do you think? No. That's that's a perfect explanation that there's a ton of truth a ton of truth to that. It's interesting that you know. Colleges tend to look at those sports differently. But the other point about the differences is that there are two types of sports on a college campus, they're generating revenue generating sports, basketball, and football, and their expenditure sports, which is everything else and those two revenue generating sports pay for the existence of those other sports and those revenue generating sports are predominated by black males, Shaun Harper. Who's now at USC did a brilliant study that which he updates from time to time when he was at UPN, which pointed out just underscored for everyone that less than three percent of all graduates on major college campuses are black males yet they make up fifty and sixty percent of those two revenue generating sports, which means back Ladimir point that the primary reason that they're on a college campus in the first place is not to be educated, but to generate revenues via athletics for those unit. You know, we've just got less than a minute to go here. And I know we've focused on the NCW and this last half of the conversation because obviously it's a huge issue. But but Kevin we started by talking about, you know, the NBA WNBA, we should've mentioned the NFL as well. I mean, these are huge or powerful rich organizations. I mean, don't you think that we're gonna see pushback from the organizations as well. Oh, there's there's no question ever since the eight mid eighteen eighties. When John Montgomery ward. As a baseball player tried to organize his his brethren to fight against ownership in management for for better treatment, we've been dealing with this and the WNBA is a players associates is going to be in a fight. We're going to have the NFL agreement expires soon. They're going to be in a fife everyone's going to be pushing back because this is a fight over dollars. Well, Kevin Blackstone ESPN panelists and professor of sports journalism at the university of Maryland also writes for the Washington Post as well. Thank you so much for joining. Us today. Kevin. Thank you Meghna and Robert Keough writer in residence and program curator at upper house. A Christian study center at the university of Wisconsin. He's also editor of the literary magazine the point former division three soccer player at Wheaton college in Illinois, as well rubber Keough, very grateful that you could join us today. Thank you. So very much. Thank you for having me. Great to be with you. I'm making to talk. This is on point.

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