Time for Nike and Under Armour to Pay College Athletes

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In the cover article for The Atlantic Monthly from October 2011, "The Shame of College Sports," it is detailed how Sonny Vaccaro, who has worked for Nike  (NKE) and Adidas (ADS), used the allure of big bucks to force university heads to allow for sponsor advertising. As Vaccaro put it directly to many in a meeting, "We want to put our materials on the bodies of your athletes, and the best way to do that is to buy your school. Or buy your coach." It has worked well for Nike, Under Armour (UA), and the others.

Now it is time for Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, and others to do the right thing and pay the college athletes, rather than just buying the coach or the school.

It is difficult to think of a more inequitable system involving billions in revenue with millions going to coaches than having players who do not have the money to go to the movies or take a bus home to visit their parents, according to Don Curtis, a trustee for the University of North Carolina. In the words of Dale Brown, who used to coach basketball at Louisiana State University, where Shaquille O'Neal and Pistol "Pete" Maravich played, "Look at the money we make off predominantly poor black kids. We're the whoremasters."

Events are moving in the right direction for college athletes being paid and Nike, Reebok, Under Armour should get out in front.

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