With March Madness upon us, perhaps it’s time to think about what it means to be an American. We should also reconsider what it means to be a college student. As it stands, the 700-plus men and women signed on to play in the largest post-season extravaganza in professional sports (wait, did I say "professional"?) are treated neither as Americans nor as college students. Instead, they are expected to exist in a peculiar socio-economic purgatory created by March Madness that we might call pseudo-amateurism.
In pseudo-amateurism, you get to live the lifestyle of a professional: your schedule is rigorously controlled like an animal at the zoo. You are given massive amounts of media training so you can protect your brand in the public eye. You are expected to practice several times per day, and even on weekends. Oh, and that academic thing? You can do that too, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your full-time job.