The problem with the NCAA Tournament

by Kevin Lederer, Co-Editor-in-Chief

This year’s Men’s March Madness winners are the Kansas Jayhawks. They are not the only winners this month though. The National Collegiate Athletic Association is set to make over a billion dollars from the tournament this year.

In 2021, the NCAA governing body earned $1.15 billion in revenue, with the tournament representing almost 90% of that revenue. According to Investopedia, “In 2022, 45 million Americans will wager an estimated $3.1 billion on the tournament.”

With these types of numbers continuing to go up each year, student athletes participating in the Men’s March Madness tournament should receive compensation for being in the tournament. While the NCAA changed its rules in 2021 to allow NCAA athletes to use their likeness to earn money it only benefits a small percentage of athletes that have a big social media presence.

Doug Edert is an example of a small-time player who was able to capitalize on his rise to fame during the tournament. Helping bring Saint Peter’s Peacocks to the Elite 8 brought Edert recognition to earn him a sponsorship from Buffalo Wild Wings and merchandise partnership with Barstool Sports. While an amazing story it is unfair that the rest of his teammates who were right there with him received little to no financial gain from any sort of sponsorship.

According to CNBC A total of 38% of students said they favor, and 15% said they strongly favor, allowing universities to pay college athletes a salary, meaning that more than half (53%) of all students polled were in support of compensating college athletes.

While the importance of good coaches cannot be underestimated, coaches of high achieving teams receive extravagant salaries considering that they share their workload with several assistants. Some coaches receive millions of dollars a year and student athletes receive nothing, even if there’s plenty of money going around.

An analysis suggests that students are simply discriminated against receiving part of the earnings they generate simply because they get a scholarship. However, the scholarship is hardly enough to compensate them for their efforts. It seems that student athletes are nothing but cheap labor meant to fatten the accounts of executives, coaches and college administrations.