Who’s mad about the madness?

It’s that time of year again where everyone, of every age, everywhere in the country becomes a basketball fan. Whether it’s because you’re watching it on purpose, or because your husband won’t allow anything else to be played in the house by the time the sweet 16 rolls around; we will all catch a glimpse of young talented athletes participate in what is presumably the highlight of their lives thus far.

Speaking of highlights, it isn’t just any old program for broadcasting companies CBS and Turner. The 14 year, $10.8 billion agreement the companies made with the NCAA in 2011 may have seemed like a hit to take, until you factor in the $1.24 billion they made on Ad sales in 2016 alone. CBS and Turner are so pleased with these revenue potentials they have already contracted the NCAA for another 8 years. While chump change compared to the Ad sale revenue, this factors out to be $1.1 billion from 2025 and beyond for NCAA. This doesn’t even factor in ticket sales, concessions and merchandise. For some, it begs the question: why aren’t the athletes who are making the NCAA and the schools this money getting paid?

Make no mistake, these kids aren’t exactly playing for free. Most of the division I schools afford them scholarships that allow for free education, meals, athletic gear, medical care, stipends, and it goes on.

Nevertheless, the sports world sounds off:


Most of the general public with large student loan debt likely feel that a free education is more than enough. However, the amount of money that these student athletes are bringing in for their universities and the NCAA has reached a point where it far overshadows the cost of a college education. Let alone the physical endurance some of these individuals are subjected to, i.e. football players, and the risks they take with their bodies in process. In addition, these athletes serve as the ultimate recruitment tool for the university as a whole. As someone who sees a debt free education as invaluable, I am left conflicted. If you are an art major on scholarship, you can sell your paintings. If you are on a music scholarship you can play paid gigs. I wonder if I were in possession of these God given talents, why wouldn’t I be looking to get paid?

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2 Responses to Who’s mad about the madness?

  1. sydhavely says:

    This endures as a serious issue. The NCAA is fraught with contradictions as to the mission of college amateur athletics not to mention the universities who reap millions from TV rights and alumni donations. March Madness brings that out in spades. Your post is well-timed and raises an issue that won’t go away. The fact that a number of leading basketball universities are implicated in a pay for players scandal makes it all the more relevant. Well done.

  2. georiley1 says:

    This is a very compelling piece. I wish there was a rational solution to the money-student-athlete issue but in my mind, there isn’t! If the NCAA does not pay them, the more elite athletes find other ways to get paid which violates the rules and their teams can be sanctioned. If they pay athletes, how does that help the fencing team or the other less noted sports competitions?

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