The Final Four – Big Money
Welcome to the NCAA Final Four in Minneapolis. Last weeks games were awesome and it is great to see some new teams in the finals. College basketball generates huge revenue. Isn’t it time that the players receive more than a scholarship? After all, they are the product generating billions of dollars for the NCAA, universities, coaches, and media outlets.
The NCAA basketball tournament cleared one billion dollars last year. NCAA president Mark Emmert made 2.4 million in 2016, Mark Lewis 1.7 million along with 9 other executives being paid $450,000 to 1 million dollars. The 10 top paid basketball coaches earn between 3 and 9 million dollars per year. The universities receive approximately 200 million a year as part of the media rights revenue.
College basketball is big business and it seems everyone is taking a piece of the pie except the players that everyone is tuning in to watch. The common mantra is that amateur sports must remain so for the purity of the sports. Any players that try to make money off their own brand are ruthlessly punished.
Donald De La Haye lost his D-1 scholarship for posting videos related to his experiences on his own youtube channel. Georgia’s wide receiver A.J. Green was suspended for four games for selling his real jersey, but Georgia makes money off selling replicas of his No. 8 jersey. All of this in the name of the purity of amateur sports. If the NCAA and the universities are so concerned with the purity of amateur sports then they should take a salary commensurate with a non-profit leader, not of Corporate tycoons.
98% Will Not Make it Pro
Less than 2 percent of NCAA athletes go on to play professionally. There is a better chance of leaving college sports with a lifelong injury. For many of these athletes their prime marketable skill is their athletic ability at the college level but all their ability to profit from their skills is taken away by those that profit from their sweat and talent. If we started applying these types of rules to anyone else, people would scream bloody murder. Imagine taking away an entrepreneurs profit from their business or the patents of an inventor for the “greater good.”
My Son quit going to college and learned computer programming on his own because coders are in high demand and the job pays well. Imagine him being told that if he left college he couldn’t be hired for these skills, but he could work while going to school as long as all the profits went to the University. Exploiting college athletes is no different.
Skyrocketing Campus Food Service Prices
The Exploitation of Students does not stop there. Universities have become very similar to modern-day corporations helping to enforce mass wage stagnation. All one needs to do is look at the food business inside Universities to find confirmation. A while back Universities figured out there was a whole lot more profit to be had from cafeterias, especially if they forced the students to pay for it even if they wanted to cook for themselves.
So they got into bed with companies like Aramark, Sodexo, and Compass Group and lowered their costs while raising the price of their meals. According to Federal data, the price of a typical college dining hall contract has jumped 47% in the last decade. Corporate and University profits soared, quadrupling in a decade. The only ones not winning in this equation are the students. The average pay for a college cafeteria worker is just $10.20 per hour and hasn’t changed much in decades.
Like all “good” Corporations, Universities do not discriminate in their exploitation of the worker, not even the professors are safe anymore. Adjunct professors now make up 50% of the teachers at Universities. The difference? Adjunct professors are poorly paid, have little rights, are not eligible for tenure, and receive no benefits. Since the 2008 recession, businesses have increased their use of independent contractors in place of full-time employees. Colleges turned to the “independent contractor” model long before this and continue to cut costs by using part-time faculty in place of full-time, tenured teaching staff.
We call it mass exploitation and wage suppression and it seems every large institution is getting in on it. Our message to college students, workers, and athletes is the same as to everyone else. This isn’t going to fix itself, luckily, we have the power of numbers. It’s time to do some exploiting of our own for profit. Perhaps its time to play the final four in a private gym with just the players and give the NCAA and Universities time to ponder paying back the billion dollars in revenue. I guarantee you they would drop this B.S. of purity of amateurs and start paying the talent instead of exploiting them.