by Walter Brasch
Some people foolishly believe the purpose of a college education is to further one’s education. To explore new cultures and views. Perhaps to help make a difference in the world.
They, of course, are wrong.
The purpose of going to college is to party, make contacts, and get a job.
Sometimes the job is as a shift manager at a fast food restaurant.
Sometimes it’s as a professional athlete.
March Madness, the nation’s annual tribute to tall teenagers who can dunk a basketball, is now over.
A few of the starters will become professional basketball players this year; some in the next year or the year after that.
The University of Kentucky and Duke University, among a few other Division I powers, in the spirit of getting students jobs, have changed their mottos to “One and Done.”
That means they recruit the best high school basketball players. They train them. They give them national exposure. And they get them ready to get a job after only one year in college.
That job pays an average of $4 million a year.
That’s 10 times what the president of the United States earns, and about 100 times what a social worker or firefighter earn.
Obviously, reverse layups and 30-foot three-pointers are more valuable to society than helping the poor or rescuing people.
Division I basketball powers may claim they exist to provide new experiences for all their students. This is just a PR whitewash.
Colleges have been mostly unfair to their future professional athletes. You know, the ones who are exploited and then expected to make a few million dollars a year and shovel over a chunk of that to the Alumni Fund.
We need to get rid of restrictive NCAA rules and pay these athletes. Not just scholarships and room-and-board, but, an actual salary. With benefits. Maybe disability insurance and a retirement plan.
We need to eliminate the philosophy that elitists like Joe Paterno had. You know, that having one of the nation’s highest graduation rates for football players was even more important than winning games.
So, let’s dump those stifling NCAA rules and make college what it should be. A place to fill stadiums and get jobs for athletes.
[Dr. Brasch is an award-winning journalist, and author of 20 books. His latest book is the critically-acclaimed Fracking Pennsylvania.]