Keyontae Johnson’s Heart Ailment Should Put An End To the NCAA’s Money Grab

Does the NCAA really care about their performers?

The mad rush to stage athletic contests by the guardians of college sports, school presidents and chancellors, may have produced a major illness in a student-athlete. The University of Florida player, Keyontae Johnson, collapsed on the court during a basketball game against Florida State. Johnson ended up in the hospital and was diagnosed with a heart ailment that is possibly linked to COVID-19. Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 during the summer. To resume playing, Johnson had to take a series of tests that included an electrocardiogram, an echocardiogram and a blood test which can reveal evidence of heart problems. Johnson passed the tests. The reason that Johnson and the University of Florida were back on the court is that college basketball is big business. Johnson gets a scholarship and a chance at an education in a trade off with the school that has a chance to make money from his abilities. Johnson does not get paid. The college sports industry doesn’t care about its talent’s health. College sports is not an essential business and at best is a form of entertainment for people in bars, in front of the TV or for bettors.

College presidents and chancellors have risked the health of athletes for no reason other than a grab of money. By the way, there is an afterthought. Johnson will probably miss three months of the season and maybe the entire season. He is just a player, a commodity filling a uniform. Johnson was thought to be the best player in the Southeast Conference. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski does not think it is wise to play. But the games must go on. There is television and marketing money to be made and if there are any casualties, so be it. The people who run college sports have never cared about athletes, it is just about money.

FILE – In this April 1, 2017, file photo, fans stand as they observe the national anthem before the Final Four in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Glendale, Ariz. . (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)