By HOLDEN PERRELLI
With autumn and football season vast approaching, the College Football Playoff and the prodigious amount of college bowl games will capture the collective attention of sports fans across the country.
However, when the victors of the 2nd College Football Playoffs celebrate their national title, the real winners may be corporate sponsors, broadcasters and ultimately, the NCAA itself.
Flashback to the spring of 2015, and the NCAA basketball tournament for both Men’s and Women’s dominating news headlines and television airtime. Business is booming as Forbes’ reports television networks make more than one billion dollars in profits off tournament broadcasts.
Profits that make their way back to athletic conferences and college coaches like Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, who, according to ESPN, rakes in an annual salary upwards of ten million dollars.
Despite the profit-making deal, athletes are still left uncompensated. Ask the NCAA whether they can afford to pay student-athletes, and its bottom line is clear: no. But, if Mike Krzyzewski is making millions then why can not his players receive compensation for their efforts on the court as well?
In regards to the NCAA’s firm stance that there are no funds to be apportioned to pay students athletes, the other side has responded in kind with legal action. In fact, a group of former student athletes filed a lawsuit alleging student athletes are entitled to the profits the NCAA makes from using player names and likeness on merchandise.
With its back against the wall, the NCAA responded to the lawsuit by discontinuing the sale of merchandise with player names. It is a win-win for the NCAA as the organization will still make money off selling jerseys and videogames and leave none, in terms of profits, for the players.
Critics are not calling for the NCAA to pay its student-athletes salaries on par with professional athletes, instead at least, some sort of cash reward. “It would be awesome to see some athletes get paid. These guys are in college, give them monthly checks for like fifty dollars so they can go buy a pizza on a Friday night,” says Jeremy Farina, a North Haven high school student, to CT Teens.
On the flip side, the argument can be made that the opportunity to both receive an education and the exposure to earn a major professional contract more than compensates NCAA athletes for their efforts.
If all college athletes are to be rewarded, the NCAA would have to provide for millions of athletes across all three divisions of NCAA competition. However, all these divisions vary in their contributions to the billion(s) dollar profits.
Everytime I turn on a television to college sports, most of the time, the competitors hail from Division I. There lies the issue. If college athletes are to be paid, the NCAA would need to find a way to avoid segregation, conflict amongst student-athletes, and accusations of preferential treatment.
Irregardless, the NCAA refuses to compensate its student athletes beyond what already exists in terms of scholarships and in some cases, public notoriety.
Critics like myself find the NCAA’s excuse hard to believe that there is little to money that can be apportioned to college athletes.
The NCAA argues all its profits are splits amongst its executives and schools to use for scholarships, facilities, coaches, etc. However, student athletes deserve a little compensation, some tender love and care.
The NCAA is a multi-billion dollar organization that can maybe reassess the millions its executives make so that a little money can be gifted to its athletes. In fact, it is the athlete, that the fans pay to see.
Holden Perrelli is a senior at North Haven High School.