There are some issues which have very clear cut, well-established answers: Ted Williams is the greatest Red Sock in history. The Celtics are probably the definitive basketball franchise. McDonald’s is bad for you. Han shot first.
See, it’s so simple.
But then there are the issues, the ones which form the majority of problems and questions which surround us throughout our daily lives. These are the issues which have no clear winner, no definitively superior position.
One of those issues is the question of whether or not the college basketball players who participate in the NCAA tournament should receive a cut of the royalties which the tournament generates.
On the one hand, this is a huge industry, one that produces millions upon millions of dollars in revenue, thanks to television productions, sponsorships and of course, the great American pastime: gambling.
That’s a lot of money floating around, and to not give any to the actual athletes who are going out and doing the actual labor and work, seems like exploitation of a very nefarious stripe.
It seems like it would only be right to give the players a cut. That’s just basic ethics, right?
Except, let’s be honest here: Would you really want to give a twenty year old millions of dollars?
I mean, don’t get me wrong, we all WANT millions of dollars. Everyone could use that kind of scratch these days.
The thing of it is, it’s already an insane situation how much these players get as incentives to go to these schools. There are numerous horror stories of athletes, not just basketball, but all sports, who more or less lose their minds after being handed ludicrous contracts, bingeing on ridiculous purchases, drug habits and irresponsible behavior.
You know, the sort of things that college kids are known for.
And therein lies the heart of this dilemma: basic decency means we want to see these kids, our peers, get the big dollars that they are training and performing to earn for their schools, but there is limitless potential for danger on a personal and professional level to these kids if you start treating them not like students, but professional athletes.
And that’s what’s at stake here: students. Kids. Many of whom come from poor backgrounds and are being thrown head-long into wealth and privilege without developing the tools to properly deal with the onslaught.
So what’s the answer? I do not know.