On Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” on HBO, host John Oliver blasted the NCAA for not compensating its student athletes with anything besides food and a free education. The debate on whether or not student athletes should be paid has increased over the years, especially since the Ed O’Bannon v NCAA case argues that upon graduation, a former student athlete should have the right to receive financial compensation for the NCAA’s commercial uses of his or her image, while the NCAA maintains its policy that paying its athletes would be a violation of its concept of amateurism in sports.
According to Oliver, the NCAA either needs to hold true to its stance on amateurism, or compensate its athletes in some form.
“If college sports is all about exploiting people then yes, paying athletes would absolutely change the entire notion of what college sports are all about. And look, no one is saying that they need to be paid millions, or hundreds of thousands, or the same amount, or even that every school needs to pay every athlete. But to pay everyone zero when the kid selling their jersey at the campus bookstore gets $10 an hour seems a little bit strange.”
He added, “And if it truly is all about the romance of amateurism, that’s fine. Give up the sponsorships and the TV deals, stop paying the coaches and have teams run by an asthmatic anthropology professor with a whistle. But if you’re going to change nothing, at least be honest about the business you’re engaged in.”
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