Fundamental flaws in two systems

In Tom Regan’s The Case For Animal Rights, the focus is on illustrating the fundamental wrong in the “system that allows us to view animals as our resources, here for us-to be eaten, or surgically manipulated, or exploited for sport or money.” The pain, suffering, and deprivation comprise what’s wrong and they often magnify it,  but, they are not “the fundamental wrong” (179).

 This idea is very similar to the system of collegiate athletics. The athletes’ services are exploited for the entertainment and money that they provide for their university. At the universities with top Division I programs who have major TV contracts, there is enormous pressure on the athletes to win because there is a lot of money riding on it, none of which they will benefit from. The system is fundamentally flawed at many levels. Schools have gone to great lengths to hide the deeply rooted corruption and maintain their reputation and help their sports teams to continue to win. For example, academic advisors at UNC Chapel Hill helped dozens of athletes who were struggling in the classroom to maintain eligibility by working with professors to create phony classes for them to enroll in. Athletics took priority over academics, which entails that they are athletes first and students second. If this is the case, then they should receive some of the financial that they produced.

College athletes have nearly as much of  financially impactful as their counterparts in professional sports, but they happen to go to school on their free time. While the NCAA whose revenue in 2013 was $912.8 million (NCAA) continues to freely exploit the athletes for the revenue they produce, any financial gains made by the students athletes or they families are subject to the extremely strict and disciplinary rules and regulations of the NCAA. None of the immense revenue that the student athletes generate goes students’ bank accounts. Schools often argue that they are justified in not sharing some of that revenue with the students because the school is already compensating them by paying for their academics, room and board, meals, and travel. The fundamental issue is not how much student-athletes are worth or how much they should be compensated. Rather, the system of collegiate sports is a flawed and complicated one which allowably exploits the athletes.

Student-athletes are not regarded in the same manner as non-athlete students who pay full tuition or as professional athletes who are compensated for their job. Just as Regan believes that animals rights are not achievable simply by giving farm animals more space to move around, the problems of the collegiate athletic system cannot be solved simply by paying the athletes a few extra bucks. The problem with this system is not just that it is financially corrupt. The deeper issue lies not in the fact that the athletes don’t profit off the revenue that they themselves create, but in the belief that they shouldn’t. To quote John Locke, why shouldn’t the athletes have a right to the fruits of their labor?

Works Cited

Regan, T. (1986). A case for animal rights. In M.W. Fox & L.D. Mickley (Eds.), Advances in animal welfare science 1986/87 (pp. 179-189). Washington, DC: The Humane Society of the United States. 

Revenue.” NCAA Public Home Page. Copyright 2014 NCAA,, 2014. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

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