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Monday, August 1, 2011

Amateurs

I think I have a handle on the whole economics thing, but people continue to be a mystery. Professional athletes who play for one of the big franchises make buckets of money, but guys who play the same sports for colleges make nothing. There was an article in the paper today about how some dude at the university goes around tracking down the origins of college sports memorabilia, trying to determine whether the athlete the item originated with was ever compensated for it. If he was, that would be a violation NCAA rules and he could be disqualified from further participation.

There is a parallel in the sciences, albeit on a much smaller scale. There are various competitions staged for science and technology buffs, and the rewards are generally in the way of a certificate of recognition and maybe a plaque. Occasionally there will a cash award, but it is generally too small to even interest the IRS.

This kind of thing puzzles me. Not too long ago I heard a story about a guy from India who had done something special in college and once he got a job his attitude became one of entitlement. He no longer had to do anything, he had proven himself and now that he had his position he could do as he pleased. Although this attitude bothers me, I can't say that if I were in his position I would not behave the same way. I would like to think that I would not claim entitlement, but I would probably accept the position.

I can understand working on something because you enjoy it. I also understand getting paid for working on something. One reason for granting tenure to someone at a university is that given free rein they might produce something remarkable, something that otherwise who not have been created. Tenure could be a reward for having done something exceptional. It can also be a bet placed that the professor might yet do something exceptional. I wonder if that bet has ever paid off.
 
Schools with big sports programs should form a new organization that would allow paying their players. These guys are taking big risks and the schools are reaping the benefit. Stiffing the players while reaping the rewards strikes me as being downright un-American.

The science thing isn't quite so clear cut. There isn't the visceral attraction, it's more cerebral. As such, any financial success is only going to be achieved through business or internecine politics.

2 comments:

Cal Bob said...

College athletes enjoy pretty good marketability after college, even outside of sports. At least the male athletes in the more popular sports (badminton players need not apply). Sports on the resume is considered very desirable for lots of companies and organizations. Perhaps the association with sports greatness, or something.

I never understood the fascination with pro ball players. Half these guys, if they weren't getting paid a billion dollars for running around with a ball, would be in the penitentiary.

Kathry said...

uhhh college athletes do get compensated. they get huge scholarships (lots of times a paid-for education), they get a million excuses from classes and special treatment. and in the case of UofO special builidings, tutoring and anything they ask for. sooo yeah i don't think they should get paid. after all, they are supposed to be at the school to get an "education"