Watching the NCAA tournament has brought me much joy as I sit in the comfort of my living room. But the one thing that has bothered me when it comes to the NCAA is the treatment of it's athletes. The last tv contract signed for NCAA basketball alone was for 6 billion dollars(http://money.cnn.com/1999/11/18/news/ncaa/)this isn't counting the money made off of merchandising, ticket sales, concessions, and just the amount of exposure that high level athletics brings to a college. Everything should be all good in the land of "amateur" athletics right? Wrong. You have students struggling to eat and provide basic neccesities to survive. Meanwhile everyone else is profiting off the hard work, blood, sweat and tears of these young men. Yet when they speak to street agents or boosters and get money, the young men are villified. John Calipari just signed a deal to coach the University of kentucky for a little under four million a year for eleven years, the athletic director of the University of Florida makes 1.2 million dollars annually. Hell UConn made a profit of 6 million dollars in 2008, yet if Hasheem Thabeet is probably eating ramen right now. See a pattern?
People try and say, "but Brian, they are getting some compensation! They are being paid with access to a quality education." Ok, I'll take this one. Say a kid goes to the most expensive Division I one school, George Washington University which goes for a whopping $40,437 dollars per year. His team wins the conference tournament and gets the conference payout of at least 1.5 million, makes the NCAA tournament and goes to the sweet sixteen. You mean to tell me that it is somehow fair for this university and the NCAA to make literally millions off the talents of 12 young men and all they get is access to the university? And let me remind you, when you are hungry you can't go to a restaraunt and show them your scholarship. It would take four years for the kid to reap the benefits, in the meantime he can just starve I suppose. The scholarship is just a signing bonus, period. That is the reason they cam there, but to suggest a kid take that as his payment when billions are being made off their hard work is asinine. Hell, that equates to well below minimum wage.
But hey, they treat the kids like everybody else I suppose, except when you can line the pockets of athletic directors, coaches, and the NCAA. Then you better conduct yourself as if you were a professional.