At least 2 billion dollars is made from NCAA Sports. Merchandise, tickets, boosters, video games, etc, are all a huge cash cow for any party connected to the NCAA. However, the head of the NCAA says that the players are paid in their access to a full and complete education. Let’s explore a few points:
Do many athletes get scholarships to their respective institutions?
- Sure. But do all college athletes get their tuitions fully paid for? Not even close.
Has the NCAA and many other businesses earned ridiculous amounts of money for using the likeness and name recognition of college teams?
- Billions. If you think March Madness is purely a college basketball tournament, you’re missing the big picture. Think of the full bars, the kegs bought, chicken wings eaten, merchandise bought, tickets purchased, among a myriad of other items consumed.
Back in the day, I was a Division I athlete at a university we’ll call “WCU.” Throughout high school, I was recruited for both baseball and soccer. On my graduation day, I was given a letter from the head baseball scout from the Toronto Blue Jays. Sure, they suck now, but they were in the World Series hunt when I was back in high school. I was told that I couldn’t get that letter before graduation day, because any professional contact would have violated my amateur status. (I’m sure rules are much different now.) Since I had a very good chance to be drafted, I chose to play Division I baseball instead of soccer.
Scholarships were offered to me by several different colleges and universities, but for some reason, I decided to ignore the offers and attend a university that was close to home. I walked on to the team, and played without a scholarship. We would work out for two hours before classes from around 6 to 8am, then attended a full schedule of classes. After classes and lunch, we would hit the diamond for several more hours of practice. Dinner followed, then studying and sleep. Repeat.
Not only did we carry 12 to 18 credits per semester, we also endured a full-time schedule of sports. The head coach stripped all of the fun and love of the sport that we had accrued throughout our young years. He had a true power complex, and lived vicariously through all his players. Honestly speaking, if I would have known that he was going to take over the helm a year after I joined the team, I never would have attended the school. College kids are still young and forming, and this so called man was a true detriment to anyone he came in contact with. Hindsight is 20/20, and I sure as hell would tell him the same to his face if I met him on the street. I’m sure there are many other college coaches across the US who would fall into this category or worse.
Of course there were other athlete in much more prominent positions than I was in, but every college student fathlete puts in long hours for their schools, as well as maintaining a sufficient grade point average to stay on the team. With the mental and physical exhaustion stemming from participating in intercollegiate sports, athletes have an increased challenge in completing their education.
Bottom line is, that if athletes are going to put that much time and effort into making a school’s sports program successful, then they should receive compensation for doing so. I understand that many athletes enter college purely as a stepping stone to professional sports, and that many of the so-called “college athletes” are dumb as a rock, and are coasting through school with help from educators. Yes, I’ve seen cases of both in person. That’s the own fault and stupidity of the institutions which allow that. The NCAA needs to get out of its antiquated ways and reform in favor of the student athlete.