One thing is for certain; the debate over whether college athletes at high-revenue college programs should be paid is not going away. This, despite the NCAA’s best efforts to frame the conversation with rhetoric about ‘student-athletes’, a term they coined decades ago to justify not paying the players in their employ.
Now the NBA has decides to wade into the fray a bit more, with newly minted commissioner Adam Silver mulling over what they might be able to do for those athletes:
“Rather than focusing on a salary and thinking of them as employees, I would go to their basic necessities,” Silver said. “I think if [Connecticut Huskies guard] Shabazz Napier is saying he is going hungry, my God, it seems hard to believe, but there should be ample food for the players.”
To be clear, the NBA isn’t talking about outright payment of salaries to players but rather a subsidization of any gaps in college attendance. On one hand, it’s good the NBA is paying attention…while on the other, it’s hard to see these comments and wonder why the NBA owners were claiming massive losses during the recent labor agreements if they can offer possible subsidies for thousands of college players. The truth has to lie somewhere in the middle; either the NBA is talking about a limited program, or it’s just more rhetoric designed to give lip service to the issue.
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