By Ken Reed
It’s long amused me how the NCAA claims that they don’t have the money to pay student-athletes. How ludicrous!
Big-time NCAA football programs fill stadiums that are in many instances bigger than NFL stadiums. Seat prices are nearly similar, and in many cases, college fans are forced to pay seat license fees for the right to purchase season tickets. Additionally, and more importantly, the college media rights contracts (primarily TV) have gone through the roof in the last decade. Then, of course, there’s the millions in ancillary revenues, e.g., marketing rights such as the sale of licensed products, etc.
On the other side of the ledger, consider that NCAA player compensation, in the form of athletic scholarships, is but a tiny, tiny fraction of what the NFL pays its players.
It gets worse. As Patrick Hruby points out in his recent SportsOnEarth piece, the NCAA claims that 90 cents of every dollar goes to schools to support student-athletes. The key here is examining the fine print to see what “supporting” student-athletes entails.
“Thing is, the 90 percent support claim is the product of creative accounting,” wrote Hruby. “And by ‘creative,’ I mean the bookkeeping equivalent of duct-taping a waffle cone to a donkey’s forehead, then claiming you’ve discovered a real-life unicorn.”
What the NCAA claims as “support to student-athletes” includes head coach performance bonuses, assistant coach car stipends, country club memberships for athletic department staff members, and housing allowances for key athletic department personnel.
Fuzzy math indeed.
“Like amateurism itself, spending on college athletes is whatever the association says it is, and a depressing reminder of the real golden rule: Those who have the gold, rule,” wrote Hruby.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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