It’s Really No Big Deal

By Dr. Boyce Watkins, BASN Contributor
Updated: October 16, 2010

NEW YORK (BASN) — Sports agent Josh Luchs admitted recently during an interview that he’s been paying college athletes for years.

He said that in order to get athletes to sign with him, he’d give them amounts as high as $10,000 in hopes that he might have their name on a contract for millions.

Please don’t act as if you’re surprised.

Also, don’t act as if you’re somehow offended by the reality that in an allegedly free and capitalist society that someone would (gasp) pay a few thousand bucks to land a multi-million dollar commodity.

The only thing disturbing about Luchs’ revelation is that he didn’t pay the athletes even more. I personally consider Luchs to be part hero, part villain.

He’s a hero because everyone knows that athletes and their families deserve a piece of the billions that they earn for the fat cats with the NCAA.

College athletics produces revenue on par with all of the other professional sports leagues.

For some reason, we are caught up in the antiquated notion that we are somehow preserving the innocence of revenue-generating athletes by forcing their families to remain in poverty while others get rich from their labor.

Luchs is part villain because he too is allowed to take advantage of our commitment to the exploitation of college athletes. In some ways, he is simply the better pimp.

He should be paying what the athletes are worth, not a fraction of it.

Luchs reminds me of someone I know who loves to date abused women, primarily because they are overjoyed by the fact that he doesn’t beat them. By giving the athletes some semblance of their labor rights, Luchs is their knight in shining Under Armour.

There was a time when anyone caught paying slaves for their labor or even arguing that they should be paid would face significant penalties for speaking out against a seriously corrupt system.

Today, we have a world where agents are vilified for paying athletes, even though everyone knows that athletes are bringing in massive revenue for other people. If a commodity has value, people are going to be willing to pay for it.

By refusing to fairly compensate athletes and their families fairly, the NCAA is begging for the existence of a black market. Corruption breeds more corruption, so a system as corrupt as college athletics deserves to be trumped by the activities of corrupt agents.

To some extent, sports agents are the Underground Railroad for oft-abused college athletes. We allow the NCAA to restrict athlete labor rights in ways that would be unacceptable in nearly every other industry.

We also allow them to violate anti-trust laws that further reduce the ability of athletes to earn a fair living. The idea that it should be illegal for a multi-million dollar employee to be paid fairly for his/her labor is an inherently unAmerican value. Luchs knows that, the NCAA knows that and athletes know that.

That’s why we’re all living a big ole lie.