You would hope that if someone were to make an argument against paying college athletes in the year of our Lord 2016, that this someone would dig up with a few ideas that were at least slightly less mendacious, self-serving, and paternalistic than the ones that originally founded the amateurism scam. Big East commissioner Val Ackerman and Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott are here to say “Fuck you.”

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Yesterday, Ackerman and Scott published an editorial on CNN.com under the headline “College athletes are being educated, not exploited.” Read the whole thing, and see if you don’t feel like something is missing.

Here we have an editorial trying to convince its audience that college athletes, who are laborers in a billion-dollar industry, are in fact reasonably compensated via tuition and medical care. There is not a single specific dollar amount cited in the whole piece. Instead, there are a lot of passages like this one:

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In fact, the 170,000 athletes who play Division I sports are the beneficiaries of the nation’s second largest college financial aid program, second only to the GI Bill. It’s privately funded, paid for largely by TV contracts that allow supporters from around the country to follow teams from the schools they love. We refer to the scholarships these students receive when they’re accepted to the colleges of their choice.

And this one:

As former college athletes who now coordinate athletic programs at universities ranging from as many as 40,000 undergraduate students at Arizona State University to as few as 4,000 students at Providence College, we can attest that hundreds of thousands of students across the country benefit enormously from playing sports.

Let’s see how those passages would read if the authors had chosen to cite some hard numbers:

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In fact, the 170,000 athletes who play Division I sports are the beneficiaries of the nation’s second largest college financial aid program, second only to the GI Bill. It’s privately funded, paid for largely by TV contracts, such as the $11 billion CBS paid the NCAA for the rights to broadcast March Madness games, that allow supporters from around the country to follow teams from the schools they love. We refer to the scholarships, which carried an average yearly value of $14,270 for Division I male athletes in 2014, these students receive when they’re accepted to the colleges of their choice.

Huh.

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As former college athletes who now coordinate athletic programs at universities ranging from as many as 40,000 undergraduate students at Arizona State University to as few as 4,000 students at Providence College, a position that pays an average annual salary of $2.58 million, we can attest that hundreds of thousands of students across the country benefit enormously from playing sports.

Huh.

Look, rationally engaging with these shameless frauds just does them credit at this point. Everyone who cares knows the arguments, and everyone who cares knows what’s going on here. These assholes want teens to work for free so they and other people like them can have nice salaries and fancy offices. We can talk about how if there were any justice, they’d be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail; even better would be for the Final Four teams to just refuse to play unless and until these motherfuckers come in, explain themselves, and pay up.

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[CNN]