Monday, Jul 28, 2014 02:26 pm est

Sports, school should be separated

Posted on April 22, 2014 | by Francisco Navas

Felipe De La Hoz/WSN

Since the end of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, the college sports landscape has been teeming with political buzz. NCAA Tournament MVP Shabazz Napier’s comments about not having enough to eat made headlines, drawing more attention to the financial struggles of student athletes.

This brought attention to an NCAA doctrine released mid-April, one that adds to its plethora of unfair policies, stating that all Division I college-dining services must be free for their athletes. Napier’s situation is horrifying and alarming, and no one should go hungry. But the larger issue is that Napier and other athletes are making their universities tens of millions of dollars in revenue across their respective sports.

This is a blatant show of favoritism where the money flows to the strongest programs, and a lack of consideration is given to the lower levels. Division II athletes are given much less money in scholarships, and Division III athletes, like those who go to NYU, are given none. NYU is one of the most expensive universities in the United States, and who is to say that none of our athletes are in as bad financial condition as their DI counterparts? The extra expenditure on food can be an important burden.

This ruling forces universities to spend more per athlete, but the main issue is that it creates an inequitable environment at those universities. To use an example, what gives Scottie Wilbekein, Will Yeguete and Patric Young more of a right to preferential treatment than anyone else  that attends the University of Florida? Primarily, they are all students. This argument can be extended to students in universities across the country. What gives those three athletes more right to be fed for free than any of student in financial trouble? Nothing.

To stop the furthering of the NCAA’s injustice toward university students, colleges and their sports should exist as separate entities. In my view, the solution that I will lay out is the only way out without digging a deeper ditch. The athletic departments should exist only as a brand of the university, but athletes should not be students and should not earn degrees unless they meet the necessary standards of the university. This solution would resolve the question of how athletes should be compensated, as they would be paid fairly based on their ability and subsequently be groomed for their transition to professional leagues. These athletes would be paid with the money that the sports establishment creates for itself, free from archaic NCAA regulations.

Having said all of this, it seems unfeasible that DI schools would consider the solution because they would damage their money making machine. However, this sweeping approach is the best way to get out of the ideological hole in which they and the NCAA find themselves.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 22 print edition. Francisco Navas is sports editor. Email him at

*Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the NCAA made its ruling in response to Napier’s comments. However, the change to providing food for athletes had been in the works for months. Additionally, the article misrepresented how scholarships are given out. While the NCAA has limits on how much money schools can give to students, schools ultimately choose how much aid is given to students, and on average DI athletes receive more than DI and DIII athletes from their schools, with the exception of Ivy League schools. 
WSN regrets the errors.


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Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

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