In a blistering indictment of the NCAA system on Tuesday, Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger described the way the organization and its member institutions treat student athletes as "a form of modern slavery."
"I don't know how else to say it," Bissinger said during a conversation with HuffPost Live. "It's a form of modern slavery, and it's aided and abetted by the NFL. This is the best thing that ever happened to the NFL. They have a free farm system."
Bissinger called college football coaches' salaries "obscene" -- premier college coaches like Alabama's Nick Saban can pull in high seven figures -- and said the athletes deserve a system that offers them "as much money as they can" get.
The author, who visited HuffPost Live to discuss the 25th anniversary of Friday Night Lights, argued that some student athletes are asked to devote their full attention to sports while being "pushed through classes."
The NCAA and some major conferences have expanded their athletic scholarship programs over the last year to include additional benefits, including cost-of-attendance stipends and the possibility of unlimited meals for athletes. But the system Bissinger describes nevertheless remains more or less in place.
Bissinger has a solution in mind, though: a free-agent system. "Go to the highest bidder," he said. "[Critics] will say, 'Well, that will create a system of haves and have-nots.' What the hell do you think it is now? It's the same thing. There are five schools, six schools, 10 schools who make the biggest money and get the best players."
"Let these kids make a dime," he added.
The author said that the NFL should contribute up to $1 billion a year toward scholarships for the students who are being groomed for the league.
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