Many would argue that these college athletes receive a free ride to top university that even the smartest person can’t afford; that should be enough. However, you must look in the perspective of when the semester is over, they go back home. We do not know their conditions at home nor do we know what type of city/town they are from. There have been many of times where I’ve seen college athletes, who are on route to the professional league, get killed when they go back home. They’re not on college campus anymore where they know they are safe. Many of college athletes who leave NCAA early to the pros are trying to get out of their hometown environment for a reason.
What about injuries? They get injured from a sport they have to play due to the “free ride”, then they don’t overcome the injury or their performance slacks and you cut them from the team because you no longer “need their services”?
This is why you hear the reports of suspensions for college athletes who are making money off of their name, which is against NCAA rules, to help their mom with the electricity bill or to get something to eat since campuses only allow 3 meals a day. How can the NCAA punish a son or daughter who wants to give back to their parents?
How does that work though? A university can make money off of your name but you cannot make money off of your own name? Can we argue that if it wasn’t for the name, it wouldn’t sell? Would you buy Texas A&M kicker Josh Lambo’s jersey or quarterback Johnny Manziel’s jersey?
This is how it works. CNN reports that “when they commit to a university, players are required to sign a waiver that relinquishes their right to their own likenesses in every form. That means they can’t make money off their television appearances, their jerseys, or in any other way. Their universities get any revenues from selling sports paraphernalia or other material related to the players”.
Former college athlete Tyrone Prothro has a story. This star college receiver played for Alabama and caught NFL team owners attention. However, a few months after the season started in 2005, Prothro shattered his leg. He graduated from the University of Alabama; no calls from NFL owners, no NFL draft, no NCAA assistance. He graduated with no plans because the only thing he studied, and didn’t receive money for, was football. He spent years working as a pest control and bank teller trying to find a coaching job.
Forbes wrote that CBS and other Turner Broadcasting makes $1 billion off just the March Madness games, $700,0000 thirty second ad rate. Almost the same amount it cost to get an ad during the Super Bowl, where the athletes get paid.
Forbes also reports the NCAA makes $6 billion annually. It’s not just the NCAA but EA Sports as well, who just went through a lawsuit and might actually get a settlement which would profit all college football and basketball players $40M.
Would the NCAA be making this much money if it wasn’t for the Johnny Manziels or the Kemba Walker though?
The economic model would call this a supply and demand chain. Pricing of units based on the demands of the consumers. The law of demand is testing buyers and testing prices to reach an equilibrium. An NCAA football jersey can range from $50 to $80 versus a Lebron James jersey on NBA.com cost $109. The minimum price for a 2014 Final Four ticket was $370, average price $1,162. The minimum Final Four ticket price was only $100 below the 2014 NBA Finals minimum price (source: NBA.com). We can agree the demand is high for March Madness as you see an increase in TV stations broadcasting the games, not just the standard ESPN and CBS Sports. That’s where the majority of that annual six billion is coming from huh?
According to basketball-reference.com, the average salary, in 2014, for an NBA player is $3 million. Spotrac reports the minimum for an NFL player, in 2014, is $420,000 (rookie salary). 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick just received a $126M six-year contract after only starting for 1 1/2 seasons.
College star athlete, receives nothing. Unless however they don’t injure themselves after many hours of practices and games, stands guard of the people off campus that might want to de-route the athletes plans, put 100% effort and time into the sport, not the education and then they may have a shot for the pros. Seems like a deal to most. But there’s always that “just in case” strategy for college athletes where they are actually aiming for their degree because they have that “much time” to study to get that 4.0 GPA for the not-so-many careers out there while flying back and forth to away games, interviews, photo shoots, games, practices and media scrutiny.
No certainty of the outcome of being a college athlete.
Only thing that is certain is the NCAA will prosper off of you, even if you don’t.