The biggest event in the NCAA calendar is undoubtedly ‘March Madness’ – the men’s basketball tournaments. Practically every single student from colleges around America has watched a game or even taken part in one somehow. These games are usually televised, with millions of people tuning in every year. According to a reporter at Forbes, Turner Broadcasting and Forbes make more than $1 billion every single season. With adverts selling for in excess of $700,000 during these matches, it’s not hard to see why they’re raking in so much cash. In 2014 the NCAA itself also made around $1 billion in revenue – with 90% of this being from the men’s basketball tournaments. These guys are making an absolute fortune, without the players ever seeing a cent.
Revenue vs Expenses
Of course, there is the argument that many of these players secured their places through scholarships. Surely, they have been given enough? An insightful graph from USA Today’s data shows that this is not the case at all. In fact, there’s a distinct gap between the scholarship expenses and the athletic department’s revenue at some of the top schools in America. In 2014 the average revenue for a top college’s athletic department was $144,833,640. In comparison, the average scholarship expenses were $12,374,598… Seems as though these incredible sports players aren’t exactly draining the school’s coffers.
They Work Hard
According to Forbes, the average NCAA football player will spend 43.3 hours training and taking part in matches. The average working week in America is just 40 hours. While the NCAA are adamant these players are just students, it’s quite common for players to miss lessons in order to take part in televised games too. In fact, Florida State players had to miss their first day of Spring Term in order to take part in a championship game. Hardly a great student-work life balance is it? If the NCAA are so keen on these guys working over 40 hours on their game and missing classes then perhaps they should be entitled to some compensation for their time. After all, not every one of these athletes is going to make it at a professional team when they graduate. Missing out on their classes and graduating with poor exam scores (or not graduating at all) is hardly going to help them find a career outside of sports. And if they don’t make it into the big leagues they could be left with nothing. Surely, compensation for their work could go part way into them building their futures once they’re out of school?
It’s always going to be a tough debate and one that many people sit on the fence with. Many people believe that NCAA players get treated like celebrities and surely that should be enough? However, with the extremely long hours they put in they are actually treated more like employees. And surely you’d be picketing outside any business that didn’t pay their hardworking employees a real wage (while making billions of profit in the meantime)? It’s time to start paying our NCAA players…