NCAA Sports: When is enough, enough?

Sports are a huge revenue producer. DUH. So why would we fault the NCAA for using sports to produce revenue for their schools? Well, something just doesn’t feel right.

Who says it’s easy to hide motives? The NCAA is only concerned about a school’s wellbeing and the quality education of their student athletes. “I know there is a lot of debate out there for pay-for-play [paying college athletes], but it’s not even open for discussion. It’s so antithetical to what college athletics is” says NCAA president Mark Emmert. Antithetical to what, your bank statement?

On NCAA.org, it says, “Student-athletes are students first and athletes second. They are not university employees who are paid for their labor.” Well they got half of that right. If they are “students first”, why is it then that many leave school early, and while in school, miss days of class due to traveling (which is even worse now with teams joining conferences across the nation).

The website also says, “The benefits of the student-athlete experience are many.” Yeah, many greenbacks for you. The NCAA loves hiding behind this façade; “Critics argue that student-athletes generate large amounts of money for the institution and should be compensated. That argument ignores the fact that intercollegiate athletics programs are necessarily composed of many sports, many of which generate significant expenses over revenues.”

Here is a simple concept of what they are saying (this is just an example).

Volleyball  -$1 million
Soccer      -$1million
Hockey     -$1million
Wrestling   -$1million
Tennis        -$1million
Baseball     -$1million

Basketball  $20million
Football  $50million

So yes, while the large majority finish in the red, don’t sit here and act like college sports programs are losing money. Currently the NCAA has a TV deal worth $11 billion for the March Madness rights. Each BCS conference received $142.5 million in revenue from the BCS in 2011, and even the non-BCS conferences received $24.7 million. But back to what the NCAA says, “almost all NCAA championships ‘lose money’.” (yes, their site has “lose money” in quotes). Yet the NCAA wants to act self-righteous when they throw out the number $2 billion, which is what the annual yearly scholarship, financial aid and academic support funds are.

So how does it all stack up? Well currently, the NCAA post season generates more revenue than the NFL, MLB, NBA, and the NHL. The revenue goes to the top 1% at the University. So why then when a player gets injured sacrificing his body for the school (free of charge), the university refuses to help pay for medical bills? The NCAA heard from Valerie Hardrick, mother of Kyle Hardrick, who suffered a knee injury while playing college basketball at the University of Oklahoma. He was diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his knee. “My insurance does not cover all of Kyle’s medical bills,” Hardrick said. “The University of Oklahoma refused to pay for Kyle’s surgery, his rehab, and his medication. The university actions also allowed Kyle to be released without appropriate medical treatment before consulting his original surgeon.”

Kyle Hardrick

So, was congressman Bobby Rush out of line when he said, “I think they’re [NCAA] just one of the most vicious, most ruthless organizations ever created by mankind, I think you would compare the NCAA to Al Capone and to the Mafia.”?

How’s this for a tasty nugget, in “The Price of Poverty in Big Time College Sport” they did a study on what certain college athletes monetary value actually is. What they found was astounding. A football player for the University of Texas has a “fair market value” of $513,922, and a Duke basketball player, $1,025,656.

State Universities make millions. College coaches make millions (average NCAA football coach made $1.1 million in 2011, $1.5 million in 2012). College administrators and directors make millions. College athletes do not get paid. It is illegal for them to receive ANY TYPE of payment.

NCAA athletes are heavily (primarily) responsible for those millions of dollars of revenue. So why can’t they benefit? Oh they do? Oh ya, those scholarships (would they even need to go to school if they made $500,000 playing football?).

High School basketball players (ex. Kobe Braynt, Lebron James, Dwight Howard) must now play at least one season for NCAA before becoming eligible for the NBA draft. Are you not now running a monopoly?

But those scholarships are huge. I am sure that Dorial Green-Beckham is concerned about pursuing a career as a businessman. Neither is Austin Rivers. So why must these gifted athletes risk their bodies and careers for free for a college that absorbs millions off their entertainment value? If someone could get a job at NASA out of high school, would they still want to go to college?

It is wrong. It needs to change. Have you ever seen this controversial clip?

This issue has been brought up nationally numerous times. So why does this robbery continue? Well the people in charge of changing the system, are the ones who are benefiting ($$$). Would the president ever start a campaign to eradicate presidential powers?

This is a lot dirtier than you think. With so much money coming in, Universities can allot millions of dollars to scholarship athletes.

The Questions:

How much money are the Administrators designating as scholarship money?
Where is the million-dollar TV contract going?
Where do the millions off sports revenue go?
Where does the ticket sales revenue go?

If you have seen the house (er, mansion) of the chancellor of Mizzou (or your local State University), you might have a clearer picture. Yet a guy like Laurence Bowers, who literally gave up his body in the heart of competition for Mizzou, will be graduating with nothing more than a degree.  Sure, its nice, but technically, this guy has already made millions (for the University of Missouri Columbia).

It is weird how the rules change when the people in power benefit. Green-Beckham is 18 years old. Yep, Harpo’s (a Mizzou bar) denied him.

Hold up.

It didn’t take long to reverse the damage. The next night Harpo’s held an exclusive party event for Green-Beckham in their exclusive club, 10 Below.

You are 18, you cannot enter this establishment. Oh…a football player? Ah yes, please come in, let us host a party. I am sure that landing Green-Beckham has already generated a million dollars for Mizzou somewhere.

Schools are switching conferences to better promote their sports program and produce more revenue by agreeing to larger TV contracts, larger funds from the BCS, and more revenue when big name teams come to town. But despite the cash cow monopoly that the NCAA has nearly perfected, it still has its issues.

Colleges keep getting busted for illegal recruiting and payment of players. Yet still they maintain the failing system. Is the NCAA willing to sacrifice its reputation to keep rolling in the dough? Clearly.

However, the NCAA claims that by suspending players, taking away post season eligibility, and recruiting restrictions maintains the integrity in college athletics. It’s a PR scam.  

Why did Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, and Solomon Thomas get to play in the 2011 Rose Bowl despite [publicly] violating NCAA rules a month before the game? The same old answer, money. If those players sat, TV ratings would sink. The NCAA is not willing to lose money. 

They were suspended for the first 5 games of the 2012 season, 4 of which were non-conference, and the only player that even returned was Herron. So the punishment was bogus. The NCAA constantly tries to halt the “black market” for players, which is clearly prevalent, by instating suspensions, fines and other various punishments. But if they really wanted to stop it, they would simply find a way to compensate athletes legally so they could avoid that mess.

Do you think USC regrets the illegality and consequences (2 year bowl ban, vacation of 14 wins, including a national championship) of Reggie Bush? We still get to keep our money right?

NCAA’s statement is that they want the student-athletes to think school first, sports second, yet many of them leave early for a professional career (and many universities would sooner build a new arena than library). But if compensated, student-athletes have an incentive to stay.

To Sum Things Up:

State Universities are making a large profit from persons [with no choice] of amateur status.

Let me make my point very clear; all the NCAA cares about is money. They are currently (and successfully) running a monopoly. I am not trying to slight the value and use of scholarships, but I cannot sit here and say that major universities are doing everything they can to use the revenue on students, because they aren’t. In fact, with the 35% raise in NCAA coaches’ salaries from 2011 to 2012, schools will be cutting scholarships.

The real question to this conundrum is this; what is the main concern for universities in regards to their sports revenue? To maintain a high quality and affordable [hardly] school for its students? Or to keep the money rolling? 

What do you think?

So while rich suits are leaning back in their leather office chairs deciding which TV contract to accept, and which major conference to join, there are thousands of students out there working their tails off to earn a scholarship (that many of them need) to pursue a career as a teacher, businessman, doctor, etc. Meanwhile players like Austin Rivers and Brad Beal are playing basketball for free (something they could be doing for millions) and “going” to school when they know they are leaving after one year. Are one-and-done’s worth a scholarship? Not when so many students would kill for a full-ride because they actually need the education and degree.

Unfortunately, those students don’t offer free services that generate millions for their university.

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One response to “NCAA Sports: When is enough, enough?

  1. You make a good point with the amounts of money being thrown around, but the big money is only being made by a few sports at a few schools. There are plenty of universities around the nation with successful athletics who would not be able to pay their players anything. A Duke basketball player may technically be worth around a million, but the chances of each Duke basketball player making to the NBA and having a successful career is slim. I guess it may be the big time player making a sacrifice for the whole of college athletics, but without those players, college athletics and universities would not be nearly as great. If it was not for those few great players, Duke would not be able to support all of its other athletics, would not have the money to supply the great education to the student body, would not have nearly the amount of money it has now to supply scholarships to students in need, and would not have money for those players on the basketball team who wont make it in the NBA to have one of the best free diplomas you can have. College athletics makes a lot of money, there is no argument there, but it is impossible to say that every university can pay all their athletes, or that the university should only pay certain athletes, or that all this money goes to no good. Colleges are giving their athletes an education, housing, food, clothing, and a pedestal for the next stage in their life, whether it be in athletics or business. The NCAA uses a lot of its money to help universities in need and to help college athletes in need. Just like any other organization, it needs money to run. It is a big job and a difficult job, and those type of jobs get paid big money, though probably a lot less than you would think. Schools will always look for ways to make more money, but that money is not going into pockets, it is going into creating a better education for their students, and helping more kids, including athletes who may or may not make it into the pros, get an education that they may not have been able to afford or achieve academically.

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