Collegiate athletics continue atrocious tradition


Ji-Ho Lee

[dropcap color=”#” bgcolor=”#” sradius=”0″]O[/dropcap]ne of the country’s greatest leaders, Abraham Lincoln, spearheaded acts that abolished the inhumane practice of slavery. Despite the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment, however, not all slavery has dissipated. In fact, one form of slavery still thrives on its popularity and is celebrated by millions.
The first game of college football was Nov. 6, 1869. The rules, technology and atmosphere of the sport were obviously far different. The largest difference between the two times, however, is the system in which the games are played. The current nature of college football was first explained by a young journalist named Walter Byers.
Byers created a formula, founded in the prospect of television money, that promised competitive games and talented players. The system was foolproof: to keep money, teams had to win games.
Not only did Byers promote a greedy attitude among athletic directors at schools, but he also created a monster, taking advantage of amateur athletes and using them to produce profit, nearly creating a modern form of slavery.
The similarities are striking. From the top down, plantation owners hired overseers, who ensured productivity and efficiency, and finally, the slaves themselves. The athletic directors, representing plantation owners, hire coaches and assistant coaches, and recruit players, who receive very little to no legal benefits from their playing.
The idea of college football representing slavery is unpopular, but not unnoticed. Florida cornerback, Jalen Tabor, and ESPN commentators, Bomani Jones and Dan Le Batard, both made the connection. Furthermore, Byers himself, the man that made the system, deemed his invention a form of “neo-plantation.”
If you don’t believe the commentators or the creator, believe the numbers. The combined revenue of every college football team expands to billions of dollars, while the television markets involved with the sport pay similar dividends. The coaches and athletic directors receive the money, while those who are asked to pursue an education while competing at the one of the highest levels of competition receive nothing.
College football is an integral part of today’s culture, garnering a well-deserved amount of popularity because of the talented athletes and the contagious atmosphere. Avid college football fans deeply invest in their teams during those 15 weeks of the season. The point is not that college football is a negative institution, or that it should be changed. But before you offer full-fledged support for a specific organization, regardless of what it may be, make sure that you do not blindly support a group. Instead, investigate the history and purposes of the organization, and then make a decision.