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 #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered and got to know well, like Muhammad Ali, as well as his relationships with fellow sports journalists like Bob Costas and Howard Cosell.
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Episode #16 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Andrew Maraniss: Outstanding Author of Books That Focus On the Intersection of Sports, History and Social Justice.
Episode #15 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Psychology with Dr. Tim Rice. We discuss the growth of sports psychology at all levels, the positive impact that a number of high profile athletes have had by opening up, and the importance of everyone involved in sports caring for the whole athlete, mind and body.
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – Gary McCoy is a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations.
Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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