Mar 19 2014, 8:12pm CDT | by Forbes
1. This month, the NCAA will make $770 million in television revenues from its annual men’s basketball tournament. NCAA member schools will keep all of this money for themselves. The student-athletes will be paid nothing.
2. If college athletes were allowed to unionize, men’s college basketball players could reasonably expect to earn several hundred thousand dollars for playing in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Thus, the NCAA has petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to deny student-athletes’ right to unionize.
3. Yet even though the NCAA has argued that its athletes are foremost students and not ‘employees,’ the NCAA still schedules its early round men’s basketball games on Thursdays and Fridays – days that conflict with students’ academic calendars.
4. Even more disturbingly, this year the NCAA once again scheduled its national championship game on a Monday night. This maximizes the NCAA’s television revenues, but it makes the finalist teams miss two extra days of class.
5. For the teams that ultimately make it to the NCAA finals, it is reasonably possible that the student-athletes will have missed more than one quarter of all spring semester class days for basketball-related purposes.
6. In addition, many men’s basketball class teams will end up missing class days that could have been avoided. For example, even though Harvard University is based on the East Coast, the NCAA is sending it all the way to Spokane, WA, for its first-round game — a game that will likely force Harvard basketball players to miss Wednesday, Thursday and perhaps Friday classes.
7. Many of the NCAA’s decisions about tournament sponsors also involve hypocrisy. Even though NCAA member schools regularly preach the dangers of student-athletes using alcohol, they are so ‘drunk’ for money that they even allow beer companies to advertise during the NCAA tournament. Dry campus, so what? Using student-athletes to indirectly peddle beer is highly profitable.
8. And worst of all … the NCAA uses our loyal viewership of the tournament to preach its unique vision of “amateurism” and to lull many of us into the false belief that the NCAA’s many practices that restrain wage in the market for college athlete labor services actually are in place for the student-athletes’ own benefit, and not as a way to maximize individual member schools’ revenue.
Marc Edelman is an Associate Professor of Law at the City University of New York’s Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business, where he has published more than 25 law review articles on sports law matters. His most recent articles including “A Short Treatise on Amateurism and Antitrust Law” and “The Future of Amateurism after Antitrust Scrutiny.”
Source: Forbes Business
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