In a finding that is really shocking for a league that is supposed to be “not for profit”–at least according to the head of the NCAA–the average college football player has a fair market value of about $178,000 a year. Considering how much student athletes get for being student athletes, this really makes me wonder if some of that money should go to ensure things, such as student athletes never going hungry. I know you can’t eat a fair market value, but it should at least give the universities ideas of what might be a fair way to compensate their guys, instead of taking advantage of them like a freshman stealing beers from rush week open parties. Surely the NCAA has a good reason to take in this much for each player’s performance while still not considering them employees and occasionally letting them go hungry, right?
That’s the modest number, by the way. Big stars like Johnny Manziel, for example, come in much higher. Manziel was valued at a worth of $547,000 for the 2011-2012 season, which is money that I’m sure Johnny Football would have loved to seen some of, instead of getting attacked by the media for signing a few autographs. It’s perfectly okay for the university to monopolize a player’s image, package him in a certain way, and sell his brand. The second a student athlete does it though? Nope. Fuck you. NCAA sanctions, missed game time, and ESPN talking heads will claim you’re ruining the purity and sanctity of the game.
This news is just the latest in a series of blows to the NCAA’s argument that universities can ask student athletes to dedicate 60-hour weeks to their sports without any further compensation than free tuition and a stipend. I’m not saying they all deserve seven figure contracts and gold-plated everything, but come on. College football is a multi-billion dollar industry, as is college basketball. These kids are asking for the most basic protection so they don’t end up fucked by their schools with no degree and no career prospects because an injury caused their universities to drop their support. These student athletes are not asking for tricked out Cadillacs filled with champagne and strippers–they just don’t want be exploited by their schools.
Logistics of changing the league from what it is aside, something has to give. You can’t have a league that brings in untaxed revenues that would put it on the Fortune 100 if it were a company, while at the same time ban schools from taking a player out to a nice dinner on his visit.
[via NBC Sports]
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