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Letters: Pay-For-Play NCAA Athletes

ED GORDON, host:

As we do every Thursday at this time, here's some of your comments about the show. We received a number of e-mails about a story we covered concerning a lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association, a class action case filed by college athletes who say their scholarships did not cover their living expenses while in school. The athletes are seeking damages that could total more than $375 million dollars.

Listener Jim Sullivan(ph) in Michigan says he doesn't have a lot of sympathy for college players. He writers:

When I went to college, I had to pay for my own tuition, my own room and board. So in addition to a full-time class schedule, I worked full time. I did not get a free ride on tuition like many student athletes do. And now, someone expects me to feel sorry for college athletes who for not having their housing covered? Give me a break. NAACP players have a far greater chance of landing a multi-million dollar contract as professional players than I ever will with my psychology degree. College athletes are not so special that they deserve a free ride.

But, Peter Williams, of Detroit, Michigan, writes, that collegiate athletic systems need an overhaul. The NAACP talks out of both sides of its mouth about its concern for basketball and football players. We know that these two sports are overwhelmingly played by poor kids from inner cities, who have come to see sports as their only way out. The NCAA is going to make millions of dollars on these kids and, apparently, feels no true responsibility for upholding its end of the education for play bargain.

He continues: since the NCAA has allowed itself the de facto farm club system, for both the NBA and the NFL, they should demand both leagues pony up, pay the kids a stipend, living expenses, transportation expenses, and pay for tutors. That would keep everything out in the open and away from the shadowy world of the so-called booster clubs who bring so much corruption to college sports.

Theresa Marano(ph) of Sacramento, California sent us an e-mail about a roundtable topic we discussed, a new TV show that has white and black families trading races. She writes: I think the show Black. White. is a brilliant concept. Most people are blind to their own level of inherited environmental racism. I see how this show might be controversial for the privileged people who really want to remain ignorant of their racist tendencies. Disturbing the cycle of social expectations makes a lot of people uncomfortable. More people need to made uncomfortable.

Listener Wayne Pernell(ph) of Tacoma Park, Maryland, offers his kudos for the show.

Mr. WAYNE PERNELL (Listener): NEWS AND NOTES is a very refreshing alternative and I especially enjoy the professionalism and insight of Farai Chideya. She's an excellent journalist and certainly someone to look for in the future. Although I don't always agree with some of the show's formats, it's still a sparkling alternative to the everyday talk show and the gibberish that they expound. Thank you.

(Soundbite of music)

GORDON: We appreciate all of your comments. Good, bad, or otherwise, we want to hear from you, so please keep them coming. You can call us at: 202-408-3330, that's 202-408-3330, or you can e-mail us. Just log onto NPR.org, and click on contact us, and please be sure to tell us where you're writing from, and how to pronounce your name.

(Soundbite of music) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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