By Brenda Flanagan
Tie game. Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison shoots and earns his coach a $175,000 bonus. That on top of the coach’s $5.5 million salary. In fact, college sports like the NCAA Tournament generated more than $14 billion in revenue last fiscal year. But none of it goes to the players.
“It’s televised, on the same level like on TV like professional sports. So there should be no reason that they don’t get paid somewhat,” said Rutgers student Aum Kotecha.
“Just athletics in the United States its bloated for no good reason to make money made on the backs of college athletes,” said Jose Sanchez.
“So in essence the NCAAA has created for itself the best revenue sharing model imaginable in sports, 100 percent for themselves and zero percent for athletes,” said sports business expert Marc Edelman.
Edelman says student athletes spend more time practicing than studying.
“The college athlete in tier one, divsion one sports, in sports such as football and basketball have spend 40 hours per week on their sport, more than a full time job,” he said.
So he’s not surprised that student athletes like Northwestern University Quarterback Kain Colter wants to unionize.
“We’re out there sacrificing so much and we’re a big part of what college sports is today, and the revenue is generated off of it. We deserve a say in that — we deserve a seat at the table,” Colter said.
The National Labor Relations Board agreed and called players employees.
“They may not be traditional employees but they’re certainly contributing to these organizations. They’re certainly letting these organizations make a lot of money and they’re not getting anything out of it,” said Phil Swibinski of Labor Relationships, Vision Media marketing.
The NCAA disagrees and says the students earn a college degree, not a salary. What about other school athletes? Could Rutgers Scarlet Knights unionize?
“They are employees and they deserve rights and they deserve a descent chance to make at least a decent amount of money from this huge pot of money that’s being made on their backs,” said Rutgers University student Akin Olla.
If college athletes unionize, the impact on “business as usual” could be dramatic. Just imagine heading into the Sweet 16 and the players go on strike.