What Really Makes Us Sick About The Kevin Ware Injury

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There isn't a lot known about the details surrounding Kevin Ware's injury, but there's already been a rush to discuss its place in the grander scheme of NCAA athletics. In short: college athletics is a scam.

We've always known this, today was just another reminder. Schools have insurance for injuries like Ware's and, if his qualifies, the NCAA offers further insurance for "catastrophic" injuries. That's all fine, for his recovery and rehabilitation, but what about the remainder of his student-athletic career?


Ware was a highly recruited player out of Georgia and this was his sophomore season in Louisville. It's safe to assume he was on scholarship, but it's possible his scholarship runs this year (the NCAA allows for multi-year scholarships, but does not require member schools to offer them) and that he could lose it should he not fully recover. If he is on a yearly scholarship, why would Louisville renew it for his junior year if it's clear he won't play? If he is not renewed, could he then afford to attend classes?—you know, those benefits student athletes receive in return for their service. Bad PR and future difficulty recruiting likely serve as deterrents for such an outcome, especially for this specific injury since it happened on such a national stage.


But the possibility exists, and that's what gets everyone incensed about the NCAA and college sports. It's not that the players are exploited, which they are, it's that the exploitation is in furtherance of the phony ideal of the athlete as an academic. Yet take away the student's athletic ability and the academics are of no importance (unless it helps the program). Student-athletes have all the security of an NFL contract with none of the money.

None of this is new, but it helps to be able to point to what makes you queasy. Even when you haven't seen the latest amateur athlete get chewed up and spit out by the machine, marching inexorably on in center frame with a microphone in his hand and a big, branded trophy to hand out.