CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misidentified the legislator who introduced a bill that would allow student-athletes to profit from the use of their name, likeness and image in the headline. The story has been updated, and The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.
Despite what one might think of Dook and their wretched basketball team, there is one thing that UNC students can agree on. Zion Williamson is a talented basketball player. He is, indeed, so incredibly talented that he is spending a full year in college, making no money off of his gigantic image or prodigious talents.
Williamson’s situation is no tragedy. He is assured to make staggering amounts of money as soon as the NBA draft rolls around, yet this situation is not one which is shared by all NCAA athletes. Most college athletes will not have a future which will in any way resemble Williamson’s seeming destiny.
One might assume a college athlete with a limited chance of making a professional career out of their athletic skill might have some other incentive to participate in a varsity team. Supposedly, they do. Scholarships are given to a limited number of these players – a pass to a free education. This education has been called into question, however. The time commitments required from student-athletes are, at the very least, an impediment to a proper education. Depending on the sport, school or even coach, these obstacles to studying may overwhelm the ability of athletes to exit with the experience implied from the reception of a diploma.
Neither do these athletes earn a salary or any other type of compensation from their school. They prop up a gigantic industry which both colleges and the NCAA benefit from. The sole form of payment for this service is education, which student-athletes cannot properly pursue, and the hope of a future in some sort of professional league. And looking at UNC's academic scandal, even if they did attend their classes, the quality of their education was not the same as non-student athletes.