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Student-Athletes’ Educations Are Not Free


This whole issue about the NCAA’s opposition to increasing aid to players is going to result in a fractured organization.

I find it difficult to reconcile the fact that non-athletes can have their financial aid packages consistently being expanded, but athletes are given the “privilege of a ‘free’ education.”

Perhaps I am in the minority, but I find it extremely difficult to justify the exorbitant salaries being paid to coaches and administrators, the expansion of athletic facilities, and the largesse of institutions whose athletic departments are financially solvent on their own.

At the same time, we tell these young men and women, upon the sweat of whose backs billions of dollars are made, that their educations are “free.”  I can share that the sacrifices they make with their time, their efforts, and their bodies, are NOT free.  They pay a dear price.

Ultimately, I believe that those programs that comprise the very top—the elite in athletic performance and fiscal production—will separate into another organization.

As to the NCAA’s duplicitous notions of “amateurism,” no one really takes their position seriously. The real irony is that it only seems to come up when the issue of increasing aid to student-athletes begins to gain traction.

Forgive my rant on the NCAA, but I have seen and know firsthand the sacrifices these young folks make in the name of “dear old alma mater.”  And I am seriously dismayed at the administrators, whose primary responsibility is or should be to protect these young athletes, prance about with the formation of ridiculous new conferences solely with the intent of making more money.

I think they all need to get in a locked room with Coach Thomas Rosandich for a serious discussion about “America, apple pie, and mom.”

Dr. Arthur Ogden is the United States Sports Academy’s chair of Sports Management. He has served in education for more than 45 years in several capacities, including Dean of Academic Affairs, college football coach and college athletics director. He has taught in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Botswana and in Jamaica. You can reach Dr. Ogden at aogden@ussa.edu or visit www.ussa.edu.


  1. Elite programs are offering these kids the best tryout in the world as well for their future. I agree that the Schools and administrators are making the money off the student athletes, but the student athletes are also getting the best facilities to use, the best medical treatment and the best resources to get better everyday for hopefully their future “payday” in professional sports. I see it the same as a job. You start somewhere and work your way up to hopefully be the one that is making the money to control it all. It’s not always about the free education, it’s also about the free resources the school has to help the athlete achieve the millionaire status!

  2. I concur with Dr. Ogden. College athletes’ education is never free. Those athletes are laboring for the benefits of the university. For whatever amounts of years, those athletes stay around for, they dedicate their lives to the program. Most of those athletes leave the University and have nothing to show for it. Meanwhile, administrators and coaches are being over large some of money because of those athletes. Elite program owes their athletes more than free education. At the end of the day, it’s not about education, its about profit.


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