Did I hear that right? A CBS executive said the ad revenues for the NCAA College Basketball tournament are over $650 million?
This apparently doesn’t include local affilate revenues, nor does it include sales of tickets, beer, soda, hot-dogs, pennants, jerseys, airfares, hotels, restaurants… Let’s see, would that bring us anywhere near a billion? Annually?
UConn coach Calhoun makes over a million in salary, not including endorsements, and he’s worth it. Why? Because his team generates it. It’s that simple. He’s a fine coach, who earns what he’s paid. That’s America.
But here’s the issue. The kids, on whose backs all this income is generated, year after year, make zilch. De nada. Zip.
Do they make it to the NBA? More than 95% won’t. And let’s not even talk about so-called graduation rates, because regardless, they’re generating the massive income NOW, for schools, vendors, salespeople, waiters, airlines, taxi-drivers, etc.
How about a system where trust funds can be set up for Division I athletes? How about a setup where for each year they play for a given college, they can have an additional year of scholarship to really get a complete education after they’re ineligible to play?
Only the Superbowl generates more TV revenue than the kids playing for UConn, Michigan State, the Wildcats and the Tarheels.
The coaches get paid, and paid very well. Actually, a lot of people get paid!
But no one would get anything apart from the talented youth who take the floor. Those young men, donning a uniform and playing the game, get not one cent.
Not one penny of percentage. Not one.
Glory and accolades are a real thrill. But they will ring very hollow when the applause dies down and bills have to be paid and kids have to eat.
College basketball is a truly great game. But the current system reeks. It needs to be changed.