Universities, broadcasters and private companies make billions from college athletics, and players are prohibited from sharing in the profits. With recent allegations of financial corruption in the NCAA, should we rewrite the rules of college sports?
That's the topic of a new debate from the Intelligence Squared series moderated by John Donvan.
The motion is: "Pay college athletes."
For the motion: Joe Nocera, columnist at the Bloomberg View and co-author of "Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA." Andy Schwarz, economist and partner at OSKR.
Against the motion: Christine Brennan, sports columnist at USA Today. Len Elmore, attorney and former All-American college basketball player and NBA player.
Opening statement for the motion
To any economist not on the NCAA's payroll, the "enforcement of amateurism is not noble. It's the classic conduct of an anti-competitive cartel," Andy Schwarz said.
A cartel that fixes prices in an industry where others would be able to compete. Students, Schwarz argued, have a right to go into the market and seek compensation free of collusion.
He urged the audience to vote yes to the proposition, "because athletes deserve the right to find out the answer, what they're worth."
Opening statement against the motion
"There is no right to play college sports," said Len Elmore. Students are not forced to play and athletes don't have to begin their careers in college.
But it's college athletes who are the beneficiaries of free education, free training and the ability to build a brand.
While the NCAA isn't perfect, nobody can reasponably argue that those benefits don't have value, Elmore said.
"For people of color, particularly black athletes, education is resistance," he said. "What better than a degree to help you prepare and resist the ravages of racism in a world that essentially is hostile to you because of the color of your skin?"
To listen to the debate, click the audio player above.