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NCAA Financials Further Evidence Revenue-Generating Athletes Deserve More


NCAA Financial Breakdown from Aug. 2008

Above is the complete (albeit truncated) breakdown of NCAA financial records from August 2008. There’s a lot of legalese to sift through, but the brass tacks are that from 2007 to 2008, the NCAA saw a significant jump in revenue. Most significant from the intake side are television contracts — and bear in mind this is a three-year old report predating the dual CBS/Turner NCAA Basketball Tournament contract and record-setting football deals.

The role TV plays in NCAA fiduciary matters is of note because it further underlines the argument made by those who believe the student-athletes from major revenue sports (e.g. men’s basketball and football) are deserving a slice of the pie. This is where the lion’s share of the revenue comes from. And how does the NCAA address these very valid criticism? A $2,000 stipend for all sports. How is this appropriate when TV contracts crafted via two sports are the earners?

Men’s basketball and especially football are multi-million dollar per year industries approaching 10 figures. Nike is profitting, adidas is profitting, Electronic Arts, Disney, CBS, Turner; the list of financial beneficiaries is long. None of them are the athletes responsible for producing these astounding bottom lines. Some have drawn a slave labor analogy, either seriously or as satire.

This isn’t an accurate portrayal since collegiate athletic participation is voluntary, and there are educations worth several thousands of dollars being exchanged. To go the historical analogous route, the current system is more akin to the late 19th century/early 20th century of laborers receiving paltry wages in comparison to the profit their efforts produce. Again, this may be overly dramatic given the dangers of that era’s workplace. But there’s undeniable danger on the collegiate gridiron, too.