By Ken Reed

I love watching the men’s NCAA basketball tournament. I fill out a bracket just like millions of my fellow Americans do.

But my excitement this year is tempered by a sobering new study that reveals how much top NCAA Division I athletes in football and men’s basketball are being exploited by the NCAA and its member schools.

According to a joint study from the National College Players Association (NCPA) and the Drexel University Sport Management Department, “FBS football and men’s basketball players would receive an additional $6 billion between 2011-15 if not for the NCAA’s prohibition of a fair market.”

The study used publicly available information to determine the value of football and men’s basketball players’ full athletic scholarships relative to the money that revenue-producing football and basketball players would receive in a fair market.

The research project found that the average football and men’s basketball players from BCS conferences would receive an average of over $714,000 and $1.5 million, respectively, above and beyond the value of their full athletic scholarships over the four years between 2011-15.

Ellen Staurowsky, a Drexel University sport management professor, said, “While IMG officials applaud the increasing commercial value of football to television broadcasters and FBS coach salaries increase at rates that are double those of executives in the corporate sector, the NCAA’s principle of amateurism continues to be used as a mechanism to deny the dignity, humanity, and worth of the athletes whose hard work and commitment gives value to the product that others profit from.”

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, an economics major, commented, “America’s economic system is supposed to operate on free markets. This is a lesson on how damaging it can be when a cartel stifles a free market and, unfortunately, college athletes are the ones on the losing end. It’s not right.”

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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