The illusion of the Olympics as a pantheon of pure amateur sport is long dead, as it should be. Sports as a whole and the Olympics in particular are big business. Athletes are the product. Good product is worth money.
It took US Olympian Dwight Stones challenging the establishment in the ’70’s to open the door for Olympic athletes to make money and nowadays, those that can cash in, do. Good for them. There’s still two last bastions where amateur athletes are ripped off. I’ve blogged in the past about how it’s high time major junior hockey players got paid, either by their teams or by endorsements, but the Penny Oleksiak case shines an unflattering light on the NCAA.
The teen sweetheart of a nation is weighing her options after piling up the medals in Rio. Turn pro, sign endorsements, cash in, or look for an American college scholarship. Yes, a free ride college education is tempting, but the hypocritical rules the NCAA puts on student athletes are ludicrouse in this day and age. Even the Drake tickets Oleksiak’s been campaigning for could be a problem.
The NCAA makes billions off student athletes, while not allowing those student athletes to monetize themselves for their own gain. It’s wrong and it needs to stop.