The Money Game in College Sports
By: Brian Burkhart Prep Reporter Twitter: @BrianESPN
This question that has been debated since long before I started writing. Should college athletes be paid for their contributions to the university that they wear on their chest? In a way, I say yes.
In March of 2011, there was no bigger figure in sports than Kemba Walker. He was the face of the NCAA Tournament, having led the underdog UConn Huskies to a breathtaking championship. His performance helped UConn earn millions upon millions of dollars in merchandise, new enrollments, and school exposure.
None of this would have been possible without him, yet he didn’t see a dime of it. Even though Kemba is now earning big money in the NBA, there are many athletes like him who will never cash in on the success that earned their schools a fortune.
NCAA presidents will argue to no end about how college sports aren’t about money, and then they’ll spend millions of dollars to upgraded facilities and take recruits on so called “glorified vacations”.
Today, a few college athletes are fighting back. Current Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel has issued a vender to sell his jersey with his name and number on them. The NCAA has said that he can keep all the profit he makes from the selling of his jersey. Still, Texas A&M can make a truckload of money selling the same jerseys without the name, and Manziel can’t do anything about it. It has even been reported that Manziel is worth $37 million to Texas A&M in “free advertising," but again, he doesn’t see any of that money.
Before an athlete can begin participating in an NCAA sanctioned sport, they must first sign a waiver that allows the NCAA to use their likeness without paying them. This is used for things such as the NCAA Football video game series. If they don’t sign, they can’t play and that, I feel, is wrong.
Huge TV markets such as the Big Ten Network have generated $242 million for its members, with no Big Ten player seeing any sort of benefit to this stagering income.
The players are the reason people tune in to these games, yet their only compensation is a college scholarship. Now, I am in no way shape or form trying to deminish the value of a college education, but it sure isn’t worth as much as the millions of dollars generated by college athletics.
I feel that something has to change in the college athletics and university “business model," where the college athlete doesn’t get any compensation except free room and board while they pay for million-dollar salaries for their coaches and almost hand money to their athletic department.
That being said, if they are going to pay the student athlete there has to be an equal balance between the school and the player. I’m not saying the university should get nothing, and the athletes get everything. All I am saying is that I feel college athletes should be compensated for all the millions of dollars they generate for their schools and athletic programs.
By: Brian Burkhart Twitter: @BrianESPN
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