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
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a long-time member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
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. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
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.
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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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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