What are we watching when we watch (and cheer about) a college game?
Historian Taylor Branch disputes the notion that we are watching a logical, natural outgrowth of the college's academic identity. If you're a student, are those your fellow students playing football? If you're an alumnus, are those people on the basketball court extensions of what you used to be?
Branch says no. They're more like a bunch of people hired to entertain everybody else. Except somehow they're not getting paid. In his controversial Atlantic article, Branch says the system is more like slavery or colonialism than it is like student athleticism. He says it's a system worth hundreds of millions of dollars and that the players are almost tragic figures, many of whom deserve to get paid for the wealth they create for corporations and universities.
So as they say on the P.A. system, "Are you ready for this?" Taylor Branch, Mike Pesca, Susan Herbst and Paul Assaiante are our guests after the news.
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