Duke Athletics Should Be Ashamed of Themselves

duke athletics shameful

(Photo Courtesy: Flickr)

Here’s something for Millenials to get fired up over while enjoying their organic Sea Foam Greens smoothie from Whole Foods. (That’s not a dig, it’s my personal favorite variety)

The overall unemployment rate has been under 5% since May of 2016, which in economic terms is considered full employment (Yippee!). Alas, everything isn’t so bright for Millenials in the workplace (Boo!).

In the past six months a little over 2 million jobs have been added to the U.S. economy, but the number of workers aged 20 to 24 dropped by just over 200,000 jobs during the same period.

This, the recent college graduates age category, was the only one to lose jobs during the past six months.

Thanks for that great education institutions of higher learning!

Millenials talk about facing economic uncertainties, rising debt and employment issues, and it turns out they are pretty spot on. (Time to add some vodka to that morning smoothie routine.)

But here’s where things get really messed up — when major university athletic programs, like Duke, advertise full-time job openings that require real skills, a real demand on your time and 4-year degrees…and make them UNPAID.

[bctt tweet=”Duke Athletics Should Be Ashamed of Themselves #sportsbiz” username=”workinsports”]

You heard that right, Duke Athletics — of the $91 million dollar operating budget — is offering up a once in a lifetime opportunity to work in the athletic department of a Division 1 institution and get a sparkly “Athletic Facilities, Game Operations and Championships Assistant” job title on your resume…and you will not be paid for your 11 months of effort.

You will:

  • Work 40 hours a week – 9 to 5 Monday through Friday (standard office hours of course) and the occasional weekend, when applicable.
  • Assist with all event operations, facility management and special event operations as well as the additional needs of the Athletic Facilities, Game Operations and Championships department.
  • Act as the primary game day manager (or secondary manager) for sports
  • Acquire full knowledge of Duke’s athletic venues. This includes knowledge of keys for athletic doors, housekeeping responsibilities, risk management procedures, identifying maintenance needs, facility floor plans, building codes, etc.
  • Conduct weekly facility walk-throughs and complete facility checklists pertaining to each facility.

I’m not going to do them all, but there are THIRTEEN more bullet-pointed job requirements. None of which earn you any money.

You work full-time, meaning you can’t possibly get another side job to say, put food on your table. Your weekends are in play, so a weekend gig to pay rent isn’t an option either. BUT, you get Duke Athletics on your resume, and experience the thrill of working nearby David Cutcliffe!

Who could actually do this job?

I’ll let you fill in that blank, but I should be pretty obvious what type of person is likely to fill this role and get their big piece of resume building pie. You almost start to wonder if this is an intentional method to suppress certain segments of society….nah, couldn’t be that.

This is the perfect time to remind you that the estimated yearly cost associated with attending Duke is $72,710.  Let me repeat – $72,710 PER YEAR, to then have your own university, the one place you should have an in to begin your sports career, offer you the opportunity to apply for a full-time job that will have high demands, but low pay.

And by low, I mean none, zero, zilch.

Let me join the chorus of Millenials projecting a middle finger high into the air while barking a B.S. chant directly at the decision makers in the Duke Athletic department.


(h/t: Deadspin)

About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the sports media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently, Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, do it.

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  1. BlueDevilIntern says

    Keep digging on this subject. There were 9 unpaid interns this year at Duke that worked 50-60+ hour weeks.

    • If you are one of them you should investigate the Black Swan/Fox Studios legal case — interns sued the film studio for working them long hours doing skilled work and not paying them. They won. – Brian

  2. Jason halsey says

    40 hour work weeks….more like 60-70…

    • I agree Jason — here’s the thing, if they were paying for services rendered I have zero issue. I’ve worked some crazy ass hours in my career and it was by choice and it was compensated. To demand performance without pay is terrible. – Brian

  3. I worked as a game operations intern at a DI school unpaid for 6 months. We worked 70-80 hours every single week. We worked a minimum of 6 days a week, but typically 7 days a week. My job was exactly what you described above as being game manager, operations, doing a skilled job. A 4 year degree was required for the internship. The 3 of us doing this internship were treated like the low life interns they thought of us as. If we dare asked for a food voucher for the concession stand after working a 15 hour day, we would get an immediate “no” or a guilt trip about how they couldn’t “just give food vouchers to everyone”. I’ve always wondered how universities get away with doing this.

    • It’s insanity!!!! Rachel as you can tell I have a real problem with this — what is even more maddening is that they showed you no respect. To get someone to work for them full-time for zero pay, these a$$hats should be thinking, “wow this person really wants it, they really want to make it and we are getting a great benefit by having them here, in turn I’m going to really show them respect and throw them a food voucher or 50.” What a bunch of a$$holes. I’ve known about this practice for years, I’m just mad it took me this long to write about it. – Brian

  4. Tom Stillman says

    Every job in athletics is virtually that way. Unless you’re the owner or a player, you make no money whatsoever for these billion dollar organizations.

  5. “Not true. You lose the power of your arguments when you generalize. Stick to data points and specifics.” – Very nicely put.