A ruthlessly exploitative college football season finally draws to a close

Universities have always been happy to exploit unpaid workers for monetary gain. Covid-19 has only magnified the distasteful spectacle

At half-time of the national college football semifinal between Clemson and Ohio State, OSU coach Ryan Day said something that encapsulated everything wrong with the 2020 college football season, though it had nothing whatsoever to do with Covid-19.

He confidently told a national television audience that his star quarterback Justin Fields, who had just suffered a nasty rib injury, was that “he’s gotta play for 30 more minutes.” Fields did not receive an X-ray at half-time and returned to play in the second half. For his part, Fields said medical staff “didn’t really give me a diagnosis,” although he did receive multiple shots to get him through the game. He also said, “Even throwing 10 yards, it would hurt.” Day would receive $100,000 as a bonus for Ohio State’s victory over Clemson – and his team will play Alabama for the national title on Monday night. Fields, on the other hand, received no compensation at all.

Related: Sarah Fuller: ‘My male college football teammates call me Champ’

Nathan Kalman-Lamb is lecturing fellow at Duke University. Derek Silva is an assistant professor of criminology at King’s University College. Johanna Mellis is assistant professor of history at Ursinus College. They co-host The End Of Sport podcast.

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