“[T]o exploit a person involves the harmful, merely instrumental utilization of him or his capacities, for one's own advantage or for the sake of one's own ends.” (Buchanan 1985, 87).
“Common to all exploitation of one person (B) by another (A)…is that A makes a profit or gain by turning some characteristic of B to his own advantage…exploitation … can occur in morally unsavory forms without harming the exploitee's interests and … despite the exploitee's fully voluntary consent to the exploitative behavior…” (Feinberg 1988, 176-79).
“Exploitation [in exchange] demands…that there is no reasonably eligible alternative [for the exploitee] and that the consideration or advantage received is incommensurate with the price paid. One is not exploited if one is offered what one desperately needs at a fair and reasonable price.” (Benn 1988, 138).
“[A] group is exploited if it has some conditionally feasible alternative under which its members would be better off.” (Roemer 1986, 136).
Given these different takes on what exploitation is, can a case be made that college athletes, at least big time college athletes, are being exploited in one or more of the above senses? As one president of Stanford University put it, big time college athletics "reeks of exploitation" because of the revenue generated for the university from the services of the athletes while many of the athletes gain little from their own college experiences.