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Seattle Times letters to the editor

Topic: NCAA

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January 6, 2014 at 6:23 PM

Paying college athletes: NCAA’s a cartel, college not a minor league and the role of scholarships

Auburn's Tre Mason runs during the first half of the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game against Florida State Monday in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Auburn’s Tre Mason runs during the first half of the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game against Florida State Monday in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

On Monday, guest columnist Richard O. Zerbe wrote, “Colleges should be allowed to pay athletes. The players risk injury, devote considerable time, may forego earnings while playing and will not, in most cases, be able to play professional ball.” This prompted quite a few readers to write in with their perspectives:

NCAA is a cartel

Editor, The Times:

Richard O. Zerbe was persuasive about the economic case for paying college athletes [“It’s time to pay NCAA athletes,” Opinion, Jan. 6]. And beyond economics, there is justice.

Consider this hypothetical: suppose manufacturers who use skilled engineers and machinists to build airplanes agreed among themselves to systematically underpay those employees — in effect diverting more profits to the company. Notice that if all manufacturers joined in such a cartel, highly specialized engineers and machinists would have limited employment options elsewhere.

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