The Gold Age of Intercollegiate Sports
The feeling across the country exists that Intercollegiate Sports were pure and innocent before the professional sports field erupted with television. But history shows that college sports were born out of commercialization and continue to this day to be a money making machine that only provides limited opportunities for athletes. With the popularity of athletes allowing schools to sell custom school sports gear while the student athletes do not benefit beyond their scholarship and living expense allotments. Many choose to leave school early to earn a living in the professional field and support their families.
The NCAA continues to monitor the situation and enforces fines against schools that pay students but they do not limit the amount of money a school can make from the image or the jersey of an athlete. School sweatshirts can be sold by the school with the athlete’s number on the front and back but the athlete cannot sell their practice jersey without facing stiff penalties, as Ohio State football players realized recently when 6 were suspended from one game to five games for the 2011 season.
In addition, the scholarship money is often wasted on athletes as they seldom complete their degrees. Nationally, only 30% of school athletes complete their degrees compared to 80% of the general college population. Bob Huggins wore the school basketball apparel of the University of Cincinnati on the sidelines for years until the graduation rate of his athletes dropped to zero then he was released. The only major university with a student athlete graduation rate comparable to the general population is the University of Notre Dame according to Sherwood Ross of the OpEdNews.com website. They are one of the few colleges that shine like the dream of the intercollegiate golden age that was once believed to exist.