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Stephen L. Carter

Paying College Football Players Is Only Fair

It’s what the free market would do.

Heading to work.

Heading to work.

Photographer: Justin Berl/Getty Images

A professor at Ohio State recently joined the apology parade so tragically common these days in academia. His offense was having expressed a positive view of college football. In his abject statement of remorse, he confessed to having given insufficient attention to how the sport exploits young Black men.

Although coerced apologies are inimical to academic freedom, there’s a good case to be made that colleges are indeed guilty of exploiting their football players, about half of whom are Black. As so often, the solution is a free market: To avoid exploitation, pay the players their market value.