Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Final Four

The blue and white Villanova sign sat quietly on the rear window of car stopped at a red light. As the rains are sure to visit us in April, so to will the final four and the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game on Monday night. The spectacle of the championship game is marred each year by allegations against either a coach or player for some rule violation. Academic ineligibility, bribery and players illegally accepting gifts from agents seems to top the list each year.

This year its Jim Calhoun, coach of the University of Connecticut Men's Basketball team. Players who receive full basketball scholarships are not supposed to accept cash, gifts or other forms of monetary compensation while playing for their respective teams. For some strange reason, poor kids who create unimaginable revenue streams for their schools should not be compensated, except for their athletic scholarships.

If the NCAA is concerned about the moral sanctity of collegiate sports, they can simply increase the value of the scholarships awarded to their players. The difference between the cost of actually attending school and what's left over should be evenly distributed in equal monthly payments during the school year. This would allow poor kids on campus to meet basic necessities like clothes, food and miscellaneous expenses. Those of us who have attended college understands the cost of a good education.

This system is fair and just. People who create revenue should not be denied fair compensation simply because of an institution's moral perception. It's time to pay these kids a living wage. After all, they are only filling stadiums seating thousands of rowdy fans, plus millions in merchandising and television revenue.

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