Commercialization of Men’s Basketball Players Without Adequate Compensation

Two articles recently published argue that the current situation where players are increasingly commercialized without receiving more financial benefits is no longer tenable. The Boston Globe argued that college athletes are not being compensated at an appropriate level in response to the earnings of the NCAA and higher education athletic departments. The article demonstrated that the 2009 NCAA basketball tournament generated $591 million in television and marketing revenues, that total sales of college sports apparel are $4.3 billion a year, and “in the last two years, 37 schools sealed multimedia-rights deals worth $1.7 billion, including $110 million each for Ohio State and Nebraska and $80 million for UConn.”

The Associated Press reported that in 2005-2006, the average NCAA Division I men’s college basketball team took in $480,000 and spent $1.3 million. At most institutions, the average $800,000 deficit being made up its general fund. However, including new stadiums and facilities upgrades may lead to the real losses totaling several times that figure. NCAA president Myles Brand said, “For a long time, it was believed that you could make money doing this. Right now, as everyone knows, if you’re going to support the entire program, not just the two revenue sports (football and basketball), it’s highly likely you’re going to lose money.”

“We should get paid,” said University of North Carolina senior men’s basketball player Ty Lawson, whose team recently won the national championship. “The NCAA makes a lot of money.”