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The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

'South Park' compares student-athletes to modern-day slaves

If you saw the PBS Frontline program a few months back titled "Money and March Madness," you could see the similarities in last night's "South Park," a show I've long been a fan of and especially appreciate when they cross over into the sports realm.
In the Frontline episode, we learn just how much the NCAA makes off its student athletes and that former UCLA star Charles O'Bannon sued the organization over video game image rights.
Eric Cartman, the same character who last year attempted to drive in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, compares NCAA student-athletes to modern-day slaves.
As the founder of the Crack Baby Athletic Association, or CBAA, Cartman is exploiting the young babies for his league's financial gain. There are several parallels between the Frontline episode and the fictitious CBAA, with a bit of info regarding Guns 'n Roses guitarist Slash you may have never realized.

The de facto "30 for 30" on Michigan's Fab Five focused heavily on the group's indignation toward Nike, among other companies profiting off their image.
The idea of playing student-athletes is gaining more steam every week, but the ideas how to distribute the money evenly, while not trouncing on Title IX are hard to come by.
As we've found under Jim Tressel's watch at Ohio State, student athletes are taking matters into their own hands, selling merchandise and gifts bestowed on them for their athletic ability, rather than having a reliable stipend with which to buy their tattoos and jewelry.
Each episode, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone take aim at any subject they feel topical and the NCAA was just the latest to walk into their cross-hairs. Maybe they rejected the idea for college BaseketBall.


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