Saturday, June 22, 2013

The college biz, under fire?

Over the past year or so Joseph Nocera, a NYTimes columnist, has been waging war against the NCAA. He believes, reasonably enough, that Big Time college athletics is Big Business and therefore that the athletes should be paid for their services. Today he writes about a potential class-action suit being brought against the NCAA:
On Thursday in San Francisco, Michael Hausfeld, a plaintiff’s attorney from Washington, D.C., stood before a federal judge and argued that the N.C.A.A. violates the nation’s antitrust laws. Hausfeld is the lawyer who has brought the O’Bannon case, so named for the lead plaintiff, Ed O’Bannon, a former U.C.L.A. basketball star who sued the N.C.A.A. for licensing his likeness to the video game maker EA Sports without compensating him. Dozens of other former college athletes have since joined the suit.

If they get certified as a class — and that is what Thursday’s arguments were about — there would be potentially tens of thousands of plaintiffs.
He concludes:
In the next month, the judge will make a decision about whether the lawsuit should go forward. There are no guarantees, of course, but if O’Bannon wins, and players have to be compensated for use of their likeness, it will be the first small step toward giving the players a share, at long last, of the riches their work produces.

It won’t, however, be the last such step. Whether through O’Bannon or some other means, the day is coming when the players will be paid. The only question is when.
What is the legal, social, political relationship between this dynamic and the one on the academic side that's driving college education online, for-profit, and deeper into adjunctification? 

To put the issue crudely, does, for example, a payday for student athletes mean more or less money for adjuncts? 

How does this play into the overall differentiation between business and education in these institutions?

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