The economic reality is that every year Big Time D-1 football and basketball programs continue to earn more and more revenue. Without a doubt, the more the revenue increases, the more egregious the exploitation of the on-field participants becomes. Worse as the universities and the NCAA continue to reap increased revenue (in 2008 the NCAA’s March Madness alone brought the NCAA $636.2 million in revenue in 2008.). The so-called student athletes whose labor generates the billions of dollars in revenue continue to get poorer and poorer.
In fact according to the seminal study “The Price of Poverty in Big Time College Sports” (Huma and Staurowsky) the average D-1 “full ride scholarship” student-athletes actually owe $3222.00 annually to the university to their university. In fact, Huma and Staurowsky further explained that 85% on D-1 “full scholarship” student-athletes live below the U.S. poverty line. For those athletes that actually stay off campus the numbers actually increases to 86%” that have the so-called “full ride scholarships.” C’mon, how can 8 out 10 student-athletes live below the poverty line, while the average D-1 football and basketball coach easily makes more than 1 million dollars!
How does the NCAA respond to this fact of poverty and average $3220.00 annual scholarship deficit? The NCAA authorizes universities to provide scholarship athletes up to $2000.00 additional dollars a year to cover the $3222.00 average deficit. This so-called reform is a joke and absurdly stupid on two fronts: 1) it does not cover the known deficit; and 2) the additional $2000.00 is optional at the Universities discretion. In other words, the NCAA ha made it clear the that the sharecropping punk-feast system is still in play for Universities (although i believe that most BCS schools would gladly pay their players just compensation, but that’s for another time to discuss) and the NCAA
The good news is the veil of secrecy is rapidly being stripped away from the NCAA’s oppressive and exploitative system, and just like every other oppressive regime it will have to substantially reform or be swept away completely.