Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Re: Paying College Athletes

PBS Frontline did an excellent piece this week called "Money and March Madness":

In Money and March Madness, FRONTLINE correspondent Lowell Bergman takes a hard look at the economics of the annual NCAA tournament -- a cash cow for amateur athletics that generates enormous dollars for everyone except the players themselves, raising basic questions of fairness that are now leading a handful of influential figures to challenge the way the NCAA operate.

You can watch it for free here, and I recommend that you do. It does a great job addressing some often overlooked aspects of the college sports business: one-year scholarships, low graduation rates, the NCAA and member institutions profiting off of player likenesses long after those players have left the school.

My only complaint with this Frontline program is that it equates "college sports" with major Division I men's basketball and football. College athletic programs that generate big bucks are the exception, not the norm. Even many Division I football and men's basketball programs aren't profitable. This fact doesn't change any of the problems mentioned above, but it is something that must be acknowledged whenever one discusses the possibility of paying student-athletes.

Last week I wrote an article on this topic for Midwest Sports Fans. Give it a read and let me know what you think.


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