Where is the Balance?

I’ve read many blogs from my peers about the NFL and guaranteed contracts, safety, the risks but I want to compare the sport. Why is it that on average football players get paid less than baseball and basketball players. The average salary for the MLB in 2012 was 3.2 Million , NBA 5.15 Million and even the NHL coming in at an average of 2.4 Milllion. The NFL comes in 4th place at only 1.9 Million. I know many people would wonder why I say “only” but this is because compared to the average of the other sports players in NFL are at a serious disadvantage. Not only is Football a sport with higher risk and lower pay but it is one of the most popular, most loved sport in America. So, why is it that they are paid less and their money isn’t guaranteed like those in the NBA and MLB. My colleague gives great insight on NFL contracts and certain terms in. Instead of just assuming things about this topic I referenced some of the articles I’ve read in class. In Dunnings Dynamics of Modern Sports he talks about the relation of spectators and players so I thought. Do NFL players not have as many spectators is that why they don’t get paid as much, do people give more support to those who play different sports.

That couldn’t be the reason because out of the top 10 largest fan bases in professional sports majority were football with the number one fan base being the fans and spectators of the Green Bay Packers a team in the NFL. NFL Contracts are not only on average less than other professional sports but they are not guaranteed.

I would say that this isn’t fair but others may feel that this is a form of social contract. Although many kids don’t know that football is a sport that they may lack financial in relation to other professional sports they still agree to play this sport as opposed to baseball or basketball. In Social Contracts Hobbes speaks on the power of individuals and their decisions saying “ an implied agreement. Hobbes asserted that the people agreed among themselves to “lay down” their natural rights of equality and freedom and give absolute power to a sovereign. The sovereign, created by the people, might be a person or a group. The sovereign would make and enforce the laws to secure a peaceful society, making life, liberty, and property possible. Hobbes called this agreement the “social contract.” So are football players agreeing to be paid less than the other popular sports in the countries when they decide to play or is this not fair. People don’t determine what they are born with, these players couldn’t pick between basketball and football talent, they can just simply improve the natural skills they were born with. These players risk extreme physical trauma a lot more extreme than those who play baseball or football. Shouldn’t they get payed close to the amount. Basketball players get an annual salary that is on average more than twice as much as football players and they don’t risk nearly as much. I guess one could say that life isn’t “fair” that all these athletes get paid a lot more than a lot of people but when do hard work and risk begin to add up with pay across all boards. There is no social contract that can say that these athletes are agreeing to unfair treatment.

What Time to Make Time?

Recently I was presented with a dilemma, a normal dilemma, a problem that every college student is bound to run into but first, let me give some back story. Deciding my roommate was very simple, I knew I was going to live with my best friend from high school. Many people said this was “friendship suicide” but I thought as long as there was some sort of unspoken agreement between us two everything should be fine. There should be no need for any written strict rules or a “contract”. Normal problems with roommates in college would be invading each others space, privacy, not keeping a tolerable room and many more.

In my situation none of those were issues, the biggest issue was time, how do I evenly split my time with all of my friends, this is not something many people think of when selecting a roommate but I’ve talked to many of my friends who see this as a challenge. How do I balance my roommate/best friend and my other friends. Should friendships implement social contracts? A friendship is one of the most covenant agreements in our world today especially a best friend does it need a list of rules?

What problem made us think about a social contract? Common Areas and time. Although we know each other very well what we didn’t know is how we kept our areas. We didn’t exactly recognize each others effort in relation to cleaning the apartment so what did we do? We drew up a contract explaining what days we would clean what and who was obligated to do these things. This was a good idea in this area, but how do I solve a time issue. Do I draw up a schedule and tell her which days and times I will spend with her and what times I’ll spend with my other friends. That seems like a very formal way of going about hanging out with a friend. “Lastly, the agreement of these creatures is natural; that of men, is by covenant only, which is artificial: and therefore it is no wonder if there be somewhat else required (besides covenant) to make their agreement constant and lasting; which is a common power, to keep them in awe, and to direct their actions to the common benefit.” Here Hobbes says that agreeing with each other without a contract of course is natural but sometimes there is a need for a written agreement. So is there a need for a written agreement of my time, should I equally divide my time between my boyfriend and my friends. Some situations just aren’t this simple. They teach us how to make time for studying and how to make sure we get enough sleep and exercise but where do you learn how to divide time with friends?

Here is an 8 step how to on spending time with friends (http://www.wikihow.com/Manage-Friendship-when-in-a-Relationship) and it says nothing about a contract. I’d say that there is no need for a social contract between my best friend and I when it comes to time spent. Some things like when to do the dishes or take out the trash may need contracts but like many of us said in lecture friendships do not need social contracts. So the logical answer to this would be going about my own freedom and liberties to figure whats in my best interest just as l will. “If man in the state of nature be so free, as has been said; if he be absolute lord of his own person and possessions, equal to the greatest, and subject to no body, why will he part with his freedom? why will he give up this empire, and subject himself to the dominion and control of any other power?” That’s how I see it, my time is my freedom and with it I will do as I please, If I limit myself to a schedule I limit the freedom of my time so with the advice of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau I will keep my time free of social contract.

I Am Man, I Am Better

Why is it that Womens basketball games are so empty. Recently I attended a women’s basketball game, the first game of the season. In most cases the first game of the season is a very exciting time for both players and fans. I got in my car drove to the arena parked fairly close to the door I needed to enter through and saw about 3 people other than the two friends I came with before I got into the actual arena. This was shocking there was no traffic, no rush of people trying to get in, the gym was fairly empty. Many argue that women’s basketball isn’t popular because they aren’t as good as the men but that’s no excuse. I really enjoyed the basketball game and the Michigan girls basketball team won the exhibition game 74-39 which seems to be an exceptional display of talent by this team.

So if a team is talented enough to score that many points then why is it that they aren’t talented enough to have a following. This is an issue of gender norms, why is it that men get support for athletics and women don’t. My professor says in Being a Woman and Other Disabilities when referring to a women’s basketball game “you don’t see any spectators. Perhaps it’s no surprise:even today, a good many intramural college games take place with no spectators.”

The question is, if the institution invest as much money in womens sports as they do mens sports would they have a larger following. I don’t think that this is an issue of funding I think its a nationwide norm because the uneven following of women sports spreads past college athletics. “For a WNBA player in the 2005 season, the minimum salary was $31,200, the maximum salary was $89,000, and the team salary cap was $673,000. For NBA players in the 2004-2005 season, the minimum salary was $385,277, the maximum salary was $15.355 million, and the team salary cap was $46 million.”

So my questions is, is being a woman a disability in athletics. Yes, clearly women are not equally treated by the public and administration such as men are. Even here at the University of Michigan women are not treated equally in athletics. Womens tickets aren’t nearly as expensive as men’s are. So now the question is what should we do to change this? Is it really a big deal, if people don’t like to watch womens sports what’s the problem with simply not attending those certain events?

There is a deep history of the unfair treatment of women in America and I think this is just another case of injustice. Women are working just as hard as men to get half of the achievements, half of the support and half of pay. That’s where the problem is, having fans is an issue but not as big of an issue as not being equally paid for the same amount of work that come with the same risks. With the minimum salary in the WNBA being approximately 30,000 dollars a year how exactly are women supposed to make a sustainable living doing the same exact thing men are.

This inequality puts definite dents in the confidence of female athletes all over, when will athletics become fair for both men and women.

Men of Honor

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What is a Frat? A fraternity as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is a men’s student organization formed chiefly for social purposes having secret rites and a name consisting of Greek letters. Fraternities also known as “frats”  are groups of men for one purpose, but what is that purpose? In past times the point of fraternities were a brotherhood that represent good academia, honor, service and some sort of development for its members. My question is should they or should they not be banned from colleges and universities. If you aren’t very familiar with the way members of these societies are chosen I’ll give a brief overview.

In the beginning of the school year many bright eyed and bushy tailed freshmen arrive on campus, majority of them with high hopes of joining a fraternity. May it be family history, parties, girls or just a sense of inclusion in many cases the reason these boys want to be apart of “Blank Phi Blank” is already pretty clear. There are some cases where “pledges” are not freshmen but for the most part, first year students are the target. There is a system, it starts with a few parties and soon makes its way to a formal recruitment called rush week. Rush week is designed for current members to get to know those new boys that would like to be members and also give the new boys a chance to feel out which “frat” they’d like to pledge. After the end of this period the fraternities normally give out bids, to invite those they want, to start pledging. Pledging seals the deal but is also one of the most important and challenging parts of the process, this is where “hazing” sometimes occurs. Hazing is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as the practice of playing unpleasant tricks on someone or forcing someone to do unpleasant things. Hazing is a very controversial topic and is a reason some fraternities have eliminated pledging as apart of initiation.

In Chapter 8 of John Locke’s Social Contract he begins saying “ Men being, as has been said, by nature, all free, equal, and independent, no one can be put out of this estate, and subjected to the political power of another, without his own consent. The only way, whereby any one divests himself of his natural liberty,and puts on the bonds of  civil society, is by agreeing with other men to join and unite into a community, for their comfortable, safe, and peaceable living one amongst another, in a secure enjoyment of their properties, and a greater security against any,that are not of it.”

When I read this I immediately agreed with Locke. No men should have anything taken from him and put under the power of someone else without his own consent. Issues with Hazing relate to this. These boys want to be apart of this group, they give consent to live this lifestyle, to possibly risk lower gpa’s and staying up until all times of the night, being on call at all times is there choice.

Would Locke agree with fraternities? According to his Social Contract, yes. As long as the members of the fraternities are okay with what goes on inside of them what’s the problem. “For when any number of men have, by the consent of every individual, made a community, they have thereby made that community one body, with a power to act as one body, which is only by the will and determination of the majority”

Fraternities were originally created around academia and have now evolved into a way to improve social interactions. Although some may disagree fraternities do serve their purpose and as long as the members within are all in agreement John Locke would be in favor of them.

Professional Amateurs?

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Sports are such a big deal. College sports teams are extremely popular, generate tons of revenue and give great meaning to Saturdays all over the nation,especially college football. College football brings fans out on chilly fall mornings to sit outside, grill meat out of the trunk of their cars and drink until they can’t drink anymore, all awaiting the start of a thrilling game that reminds me of survival of the fittest. Why do these athletes work profusely throughout the week and risk their lives every Saturday? Many like mways2014 say that these athletes do it “for the greater good of their team and the satisfaction of winning the game”. Would these athletes still put their life on the line if there was no promise of higher pay from their performance at this “amateur” level, at the professional level in the future? My answer is no, these athletes play these sports at a collegiate level and many if not all hope to one day become professional athletes. Paying athletes at a collegiate level would be similar to paying medical students. Both of these groups of people are getting the training that is required for them to succeed at the next level, accept football players do get some sort of compensation for their hard work. Scholarships, scholarships are usually awarded to these athletes so they don’t have to pay to attend some of these great schools like the University of Michigan.

In Eric Dunning’s “Dynamics of Modern Sports” he says that athlete compete for multiple reasons and among those were opportunities. Thats what these schools give these athletes, opportunities, opportunities to play professionally, opportunities to become physically ready for competition in the professional league and opportunities to get a free education, just to name a few. Paying athletes at a collegiate level would take away from the play aspect. Dunning says that Professionalism takes away the fun of sports because the competitiveness increases therefore the action becomes more serious. Are these premiere sports ever lacking a high level of competitiveness? It starts when you’re younger, football players play as kids to get on the team in middle school, and then play and work hard to make the team in high school to hopefully play in college where they wish and dream to play in the NFL. The intentions are never purely for fun.

If schools do choose to pay these athletes how would they determine which sports are paid the most? Just as there is an argument that athletes have the right to be paid because they generate so much revenue for the school, what about the athletes that work just as hard as football players, if we are paying athlete for their efforts shouldn’t all athletes get paid the same? Should older athletes get paid more? Many would say to pay every athlete the same but what about those athletes who generate thousands of dollars in sales of their jerseys do they deserve more than athletes who aren’t exactly the most popular.

Paying athletes is a very sticky subject, yes, they do work hard and generate tons of money for these select universities but without these universities, would they be equipped and ready to play at these professional levels where they then make tons of money. Collegiate sports are an institution, they have traditions, they have many rules and regulations as some of us are all too familiar with, and most of all they allow great opportunity for their athletes. Athletes should focus on the play aspect while they can because for some of them before they know it, the game they love could become all to serious.