News Article
March 26, 2018

NCAA: stop enslaving student athletes!

From The NCAA Says Student-Athletes Shouldn’t Be Paid Because the 13th Amendment Allows Unpaid Prison Labor, Shaun King, The Intercept, February 22 2018:

In the United States, college athletes — particularly those who compete at some of the largest football and basketball programs — generate not millions but billions of dollars for universities, brands, and television networks […]

That very obvious dynamic undergirds a lawsuit filed by former NCAA athlete Lawrence “Poppy” Livers asserting that scholarship students who play sports are employees and deserve pay. The Livers case argues that student-athletes who get scholarships should at least be paid as work-study students for the time they put in.

[…] At the root of its legal argument, the NCAA is relying on one particular case for why NCAA athletes should not be paid. That case is Vanskike v. Peters.

Only there’s an important detail: Daniel Vanskike was a prisoner at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois [...] In 1992, Vanskike and his attorneys argued that as a prisoner, he should be paid a federal minimum wage for his work. The court, in its decision, cited the 13th Amendment and rejected the claim.

The 13th Amendment is commonly hailed as the law that finally ended slavery in America. But the amendment has an important carve-out: It kept involuntary service legal for those who have been convicted of a crime. […] It’s that phrase — “except as a punishment for crime” — that allows American prisons to force inmates to do whatever work they want or need them to do.     […]

Yet the NCAA wants to rely on this case and call on the 13th Amendment. The body that runs college sports wants to use a justification for the slave labor of convicted criminals to justify its outrageous greed.

Coinciding with the "March Madness" National Invitation Tournament semi-final on Tuesday, March 27th, IWOC NYC is calling on basketball fans, students and college staff, and members of the public to fight the NCAA's slavery:

  • boycott the NCAA, and its headline "March Madness" games — the Association collects over $700 million a year for rights to broadcast "March Madness"
  • call / email / write NCAA president Mark Emmert demanding immedate employment rights for student athletes, and an apology from the NCAA for its court filing:
  • if you work for, attend, or previously studied at an NCAA school, pressure the college board of trustees to investigate the NCAA's invoking of the 13th amendment

E-mail or follow us on Facebook or Instagram to get updates about the campaign, and IWOC's other work.

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