It's March, so let's get mad. The annual 64-team NCAA basketball tournament is a notorious destroyer of American wealth in terms of millions of lost productivity hours at work and more millions in gambling, but all of that is by choice on the parts of everyone watching. That's fine. What's not fine is the separation of the mountain of wealth generated for colleges, coaches, and corporations from the student athletes who create it. Students who sometimes go hungry, have a snowball's chance in hell of going pro, and (as John Oliver explains in the video) get stripped of scholarships for being taken out to an "inappropriate" sympathy lunch with their coach when their parents die.
If the counter-argument is that they are paid in education, that was set to rest last year when it was exposed that schools like UNC funnel athletes through fictional "paper classes" that hand out "A" grades for about 30 minutes of work per semester. In an extra-offensive twist, those were largely in African-American Studies—because what outside observer would question largely African-American students taking those classes? Why do that? It's not because these are all idiots, it's because they work like professionals, and full-time professionals rarely have time to simultaneously pursue a full-time undergraduate education while graduating in the time mandated by NCAA rules.
But anyway, happy Madness, everyone. I was born on the day Villanova upset the world by beating Patrick Ewing's Georgetown in '85, so I'm betting on Nova. Not to be the first to pay students, of course. Just to win.