Economic Exploitation in Intercollegiate Athletics

Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 7 (3):295 - 312 (2013)

J. Angelo Corlett
San Diego State University
This paper investigates philosophically the question of whether or not college and university athletes in the USA are doing something morally wrong should they terminate their college or university experience prior to graduation and enter the professional athletic ranks. Various moral arguments are brought to bear in order to attempt to shed light on this issue. One reason why such athletes ?turn professional? before they graduate is the perceived economic exploitation they experience as essentially underpaid workers earning much revenue for their respective institutions. But who is exploiting whom here? Is it just student athletes who are exploited by the system? I expand the reasoning about the exploitation of intercollegiate athletics to include not just student athletes, but their supporting colleges and universities. In the end, it is proposed that the National Collegiate Athletic Association and similar academically related athletic agencies should permit and encourage each of their constituent institutions as a matter of policy to protect themselves (and their supporting taxpayers, in the cases of public institutions) contractually from economic exploitation by professional sports franchises. Thus the question of student athletes leaving college for professional sports contracts has hidden beneath it questions of private professional sports franchises? exploitation of the institutions with which such student athletes are affiliated
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DOI 10.1080/17511321.2013.824499
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