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UNC Student-Athletes and the Joke that is Amateurism

Earlier this week it was announced that the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill would be sending their entire student population home after experiencing over 300 positive coronavirus cases.

The University plans to shift to an online learning format. This leaves much of the student body frustrated, being that they had just moved into campus a week ago.

But wait a second…what about the student-athletes? You may think that the logical thing to do would be to send these student-athletes home with the rest of the University and tell the ACC that they will not be participating in fall sports this year due to COVID-related concerns.

But that would be way too easy.

According to multiple reports, UNC plans to keep all student-athletes on campus, in which they will be able to continue participating in their respected sports. Mac Brown, who is the head football coach at UNC even went to the extent of saying that this outbreak would have no effect on his football team, and in certain ways could even help them.

REALLY? Can we just stop the BS for a second? So, you are going to sit here and tell me that during the entire fall semester, the campus at North Carolina-Chapel Hill is going to be barren, but it is okay to keep student-athletes on campus?

And I have to make one thing very clear.

The ONLY reason that these athletes are staying on campus is that UNC and the NCAA see an opportunity for these athletes to make THEM MONEY. These students, and I hesitate to even call them students at this point, are workers who don’t get paid. Period.

The idea of amateurism is a farce.

At the end of the day, collegiate athletics have transformed over the years into a billion-dollar business. It is estimated that college football generates over 3 billion dollars in sheer revenue a year — basketball closely following behind — with these students not seeing a dime go their way. And I am not here to get into semantics about if these athletes should be paid or not. That is a conversation for another day.

But one of the main bases for that argument is that these kids are being given free education in a “luxury” environment. Well, guess what? Their “luxury” environment has all of a sudden turned into a dorm room and a computer screen. Whichever way you want to slice it, these UNC student-athletes, especially the ones who play for a profit-positive sport, are being used and exposed for financial gain. They are in no way amateurs, student-athletes or volunteers. They are employees of the NCAA.

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

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Peter Snyder is an Intern sportswriter who covers collegiate athletics as well as professional sports.
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