By Ken Reed
It’s heartening to know that mainstream media outlets are increasingly highlighting the gross economic inequities in big-time college sports. For years, popular sports media outlets either ignored the issue altogether or defended the status quo of “amateurism” when it came to the topic of fairly compensating the athletes that bring in multi-millions in revenue each year.
USA Today’s Nancy Armour had a strong column this week calling for the power brokers in college sports to get creative about finding ways to more fairly compensate college athletes.
“There are two, very simple truths in college athletics: Athletes are not being fairly compensated for the value they bring to their schools and conferences or the revenue that follows, and there is more than enough money to correct that,” wrote Armour.
“When Nick Saban can clear $11 million, as he will this year, or Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany gets a $20 million bonus, it’s not hard to do the math and realize those kinds of payouts are only possible because the athletes are little more than indentured servants.”
Armour doesn’t advocate for athletic departments cutting monthly paychecks for athletes, justifiably noting the complexity of an arrangement like that. But she lists a laundry list of expanded benefits that schools and conferences could pay athletes, including paying for athletes’ families to accompany them on recruiting visits, health care beyond graduation, a 15-year (or lifetime) window for athletes to complete their degrees or earn additional ones once their eligibility is up, bonuses for graduation, financial support for athletes’ trips home, and letting athletes profit off their names, images and likenesses (e.g. from sales of posters of players in uniform, or using player likenesses in video games).
“The solution is actually quite simple: Take a percentage of the College Football Playoff payout and TV contracts for the NCAA basketball tournaments, and put it in a fund for expanded benefits,” wrote Armour.
Just 4.4% from last year’s College Football Playoff would equal $19.3 million. You could also pull a similar percentage from the $760 million CBS and Turner paid the NCAA for coverage of this year’s men’s basketball tournament. Together, that would certainly provide a nice start to providing a fund for more equitably compensating college athletes, most notably the football players and men’s basketball players responsible for the majority of NCAA revenues.
— 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.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
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.
Order from Amazon
Order from Amazon
Order from Amazon
Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon