Apr 1, 2013

I did not watch the Duke-Louisville game but once I learned of Kevin Ware's terrible and gruesome injury, the story has stuck with me throughout the day.  Sadly one of my first thoughts was about his scholarship.  If he is unable to play basketball will his pursuit of a college degree be in jeopardy?  Thankfully the prognosis for future play is good.  However, conversations about his scholarship and the larger topic of student-athlete compensation are now at the forefront.

I have heard arguments on both sides of the debate about additional compensation for college student-athletes.  I understand most points of view.  In my opinion, the current system is broken and something more has to be done.  The status quo is not acceptable.  The idea of Kevin Ware being stuck with expensive medical bills and possibly not completing his college education is very bothersome to me. Aside from the PR nightmare that it would cause, the university and the NCAA are not beyond leaving him hanging.  It is a very complicated issue.  Higher revenue sports, usually football and basketball, fund just about the entire budget for all sports.  From what I understand, most college athletic programs operate in the red.  Increased compensation sounds morally correct but it is more than just a notion.  Probably the best but highly unlikely solution that I have heard is for the NFL and NBA to establish minor leagues and take colleges completely out of the equation. 

Our society enjoys sports and spends billions of dollars on sports entertainment.  Yet there is very little empathy for the plight of all athletes, both professional and amateur.  We think they have it made and have no just cause for complaint.  They are objectified and not seen with the same level of humanity as the non-athlete. The tearful display of emotion from fellow players and coaches at the sight of Kevin Ware's broken leg hopefully humanizes the players.  They were sobbing like babies.  Not just at the gruesome sight, but their teammate/brother was seriously hurt.  I swear I do not know how they were able to bounce back and win the game after such a traumatic experience.  Yes it was indeed TRAUMATIC.  To me it just shows how these players have such rare talent and extraordinary ability.  Having said that though, this rare talent extraordinary ability and sometimes exhorbitant compensation in the case of professional athletes, should not diminish them as human beings or devalue their human needs. 

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