Monday, April 18, 2011

Ah, Amateurism

The news that college basketball star Kemba Walker just finished reading his first book cover-to-cover this year (a book outside of class requirements, apparently) might be an occasion to fulminate against the NCAA system: I mean, really, isn’t Walker’s life all about basketball? Is this not what he is talented at? (Is there not an element of racial bias—after all, hockey, tennis, baseball and soccer players all get to turn professional whenever they please—in the disparate impact of the enforced amateurism requirement for several athletes?)

Rhetorical questions aside, you do have to do the proper comparisons here, and the relevant comparison for Walker is other college students: are they really doing all that much reading, for class or otherwise? I do a lot of reading—both of books and on the internet—but I’d never pretend my habits were widely shared. So perhaps Walker really is the average student…while also being excellent at basketball.

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