By Ken Reed
The NCAA continues to claim that there just isn’t enough money to pay the athletes that create the college sports product more than room and board.
In big-time college football and basketball (most notably Power Five conferences), that contention is simply laughable.
Here’s the latest example: Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops is set to receive a $250,000 bonus for every victory the rest of this season, including any postseason win. Kentucky is currently 6-1 and starting with the team’s 7th victory the bonus kicks in. Additionally, win number 7 would trigger an automatic one-year extension of Stoops’ contract. Stoops’ contract runs to 2024. He is set to make $5.25 million that year in base salary.
In addition to the bonus money for wins after six in a season, Stoops gets a two-year contract extension following any season in which Kentucky wins 10 games or more.
Stoops, like hundreds of other coaches, athletic directors, college administrators and television executives associated with college sports at the highest level, is rolling in the dough while many football and basketball players from tough economic backgrounds can’t afford to take their girlfriends to dinner and a movie on the weekend.
College athletes have no representation like their professional counterparts. As a result, they’re getting screwed economically. Moreover, too often they’re left to handle huge medical expenses resulting from injuries incurred while playing for their colleges. That’s criminal.
Supporters of the current system say a free college education is nothing to scoff at. And that’s certainly true. It indeed has great value for those athletes that take college seriously. But just because college athletes have the opportunity to get a free education doesn’t mean that they’re being compensated fairly.
As an example, Ellen Staurowsky, a professor at Drexel University, has said the fair market value of a football player at the University of Texas during the 2011-12 school year was $567,922 on an annual basis. The calculation was based on an NFL-like shared revenue system. The value of a “full-ride” athletic scholarship at Texas was $21,090 a year at the time of her study. As such, the fair market value denied (the difference between the fair market value and the value of the scholarship) was $546,832.
Big-time college sports is a classic case of economic and social injustice bred of a plantation mentality disguised by the term “student-athlete.”
The details of Stoops’ contract at Kentucky is but the latest example.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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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.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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