By: Caleb Jonkman
One of the greatest phenomena of college basketball is how players are treated. To many students in power five conference schools, collegiate basketball players are everything. There are usually one or two on each team that have the ability to go pro, and the atmosphere behind college basketball is always electric. So what could demean this, or take away from the greatness that is college basketball? Not the players themselves, but how they get there.
The NCAA is greedy at best. With all the allegations coming out from various sports media outlets the NCAA cannot keep the recruiting system in place that it has had for the past fifty years. Basically the NCAA has operated under the premise that all of its athletes at its member schools perform under the law of amateurism. Because these student-athletes are “amateurs” they cannot receive any financial compensation or benefits for their performance. This concept in and of itself is okay. But what happens behind the scenes would shock you.
The NCAA made upwards of two billion dollars last year. Yes you read that right two billion dollars. They didn’t keep all of that of course, most of it was redistributed back to its member schools. But that number should put everything in perspective from a governing body level. The fact that the NCAA is taking in so much should at the very minimum raise questions into the ethics of raising so much and none going back to the student athletes. But this is where the NCAA makes their argument. They do feel like the money goes back to the student athletes. In the form of stipends back to their colleges.
Do colleges actually give the student-athletes money, or allow them to profit personally off of the moneys obtained? The answer is an easy no. When member colleges are compensated for their yearly contracts with the NCAA those funds go to a variety of different areas. Do you want to know the top two? Salaries, and facility improvement. The average salary for a head men’s basketball coach in the big twelve conference is around one million dollars. There are countless other coaches that make so much more. All this money is being shared around from the NCAA to coaches to facilities. But the players don’t get any slice of the pie. Or do they?
The real controversy has started within the past three months. There have been countless reports of fraud, negligence, and illegal recruitment circulating. We could talk about Louisville, Sean Miller in Arizona, or even Lebron James’ comments last night about the NCAA. Either way we are beginning to see a trend. The past year and half has been a time for the people of the US to speak about injustice. School shootings, kneeling for an anthem, or in our case criticizing a well-established and ingrained organization.
The facts of the situation show that the NCAA is greedy. There are no two ways about it. The real question is does that give justifiable reasons for head coaches to recruit illegally? If the NCAA is going to show no moral compass in how they address their players, should head coaches be held responsible to standard themselves? I know for a fact many haven’t. Benefits, sums of money, and different gifts have been given to players in exchange for their talents. The tough part about this situation is that the NCAA won’t budge. I understand the concept behind not letting student-athletes have the benefits of making money off of their teams. But to collect huge sums of money off of memorabilia, tv rights, or other mediums that professionals would get compensated well for, and not give back to the athletes, is wrong.
This problem is not going to be solved soon, and it will continue. This is not just basketball it is most definitely a business. If the NCAA does not start to change their standards or rules, this situation is only going to get worse.