I am eager to read other nonfiction pieces by Branch now as I enjoy his blunt, informative, and insightful metaphors. The Clinton Tapes is definitely on my to-read list now, and I look forward to reading much more by Branch. Thank you to The Atlantic for introducing me to this intense writer.
For the article, Branch interviewed people that discussed paying college athletes at the D1 money-making schools due to the huge amounts of money that are made off of these athletes. He also dug up excellent information and really gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the greed surrounding college athletics. While I agree with this, I argue one step further that athletes should receive minimum wage for their efforts. People are quick to say that this would be unfair because student-athletes are already paid via their scholarships.
However, the reality is that these student-athletes are just as broke as their fellow students, scholarship or not. The benefits of a college scholarship aren't evident until after college is over and the student doesn't have debt. What about their college years? Should student-athletes not have money to pay for McDonald's, or to go see a movie, or have any social life at all? What about going home for the holidays?
I actually had to take out student loans just to have enough money to cover my books and living expenses so I did in fact still rack up student loans. Playing college sports meant I had little to no free time, and the sporadic in and off season schedules make having a job during the year virtually impossible. Even at smaller schools, athletics are an important element of the fabric that makes up the school's persona and the hours put in over the course of four years is not covered by most college scholarships.
Taylor's piece brought up all these feelings and thoughts that I have been harboring for over ten years. The fact that he stirred something in me is not just due to the topic (although of course this is a huge element) but also due to his thorough research and unabashed support of reforming the NCAA and exposing the corruption that is rampant in the administration. So often, writers try to play to both sides and while this approach makes sense for journalists, reading Branch's and his interviewees unabashed take on the disturbing wrongdoings of the NCAA and colleges regarding college sports was refreshing and welcomed.