Nick Anderson. Atlantic Wire, 2011. http://www.theatlanticwire.com/business/2011/04/ncaa-athletes-youll-thank-us-later/36404/
Nick Anderson’s NCAA to Athletes: You’ll Thank Us Later represents the cunningness of the NCAA as they take the extensive revenues from student-athletes and hand them over without opposition to the universities they play for.
The cartoon features three figures that represent the main players in the business deal that is college athletics. The student-athlete is a basketball player who appears confused while the NCAA representative tells him that the institution is protecting him from the corruption of money. The NCAA representative has a big smile on his face as he looks up at the college athlete when telling him this lie. In the background, there is a huge dumpster full of cash that college athletics are creating, and a man with the word “universities” across his shirt is sitting in the middle of the cash pile, celebrating the amount of money the college is making due to intercollegiate athletics.
When interpreting this cartoon, the facial expressions of the three figures provide perfect depictions of the controversial tradition of the economics of NCAA athletics. As the NCAA businessman tells the student-athlete how they take his money to “protect” him, it’s evident in his facial expressions that he is undoubtedly trying to convince the athlete of something that is not true. The trickery of the NCAA is portrayed in this figure because he shows how the NCAA feigns a close relationship with student-athletes, and exemplifies how the institution continually coerces confused student-athletes to give up their money without a fight. The perplexed athlete seems willing to give up his earnings because he is unaware that the NCAA is not actually protecting him from corruption, but rather taking advantage of his uncertainty to generate revenue for the NCAA and universities. In the background, the figure representing the universities is literally “rolling in the cash”, all thanks to the student-athletes talent and entertainment. The facial expression of this figure is one of pure bliss, and it is inferred from this image that the only thing the universities seem to care about is the money they earn from athletics.
Overall, in the case of this cartoon, the figures represent the grave triangle of college athletics: the disoriented athlete, the cunning NCAA, and the selfish universities. This drawing epitomizes the unjust circulation of money produced by student athletes, showing that the money ultimately ends up in the hands of greedy universities who exploit their athletes.
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