By Ken Reed

There are many absurdities about the fact that big-time college football and basketball are considered non-profit operations. It would take a doctoral dissertation to summarize them all.

Of course, perhaps the greatest absurdity and injustice — in a society that touts the virtues of a free market, nonetheless — is that the players that produce the product pulling in all the cash in college sports have their compensation capped at a scholarship to attend classes. That’s it.

Football and men’s basketball operations in the Big Five major conferences pull in billions of dollars a year in revenue from media contracts, ticket sales, club seats, luxury suites, concessions, merchandise sales, etc.

Yet, no matter how much college sports revenues continue to grow, college football and basketball players continue to be exploited. According to a study by the National College Players Association and the Drexel University Sport Management Department, football and men’s basketball players at top sports schools are being denied at least $6.2 billion between 2011 and 2015 under National Collegiate Athletic Association rules that prohibit them from being paid.

“America’s economic system is supposed to operate on free markets,” said UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, an economics major. “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.”

It’s not right, especially when you consider that coaches salaries continue to balloon. USA Today reports that Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski is making about $10 million a season. Meanwhile, many college athletes don’t even have the full cost of their college attendance covered.

Sports journalist Clay Travis recently asked a great question, “How many non-profit employees made almost $10 million last year?”

Ah, the absurdity of it all …

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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