NEW YORK, March 20 (UPI) — Although college basketball players are not paid — a point of much contention — coaches make millions of dollars per year, sparking cries of hypocrisy.
As March Madness begins, the debate over whether or not or not to compensate college athletes has once again been brought to the table. John Oliver of Last Week Tonight did a 20-minute segment on the subject, discussing how in one month the NCAA makes billions of dollars off of March Madness advertising while its athletes are not paid, cannot accept sponsorships or any kind of valuable compensation for their performance.
The coaches, however, are not only allowed to accept endorsements, sponsorships and other streams of revenue, they exorbitant salaries by the universities.
The Fiscal Times reports the Duke Blue Devils’ Mike Krzyzewski makes $9.7 million per year and UCLA Bruins’ Steve Alford makes $3.5 million.
The NCAA said it refuses to pay athletes as they are “students and not employees.” Athletes also cannot receive workman’s comp. If one of the players gets injured and loses their scholarship, they will have to find a way to pay for their education or leave school.
There has been some push back against this system. Former UCLA player Ed O’Bannon sued the NCAA after it used his image in a video game. O’Bannon now sells cars in Las Vegas because he was not one of the less than 2 percent of college athletes go on to the pros.
Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry said in a recent interview with Fox Business Network that paying college basketball players would entice them to stay in college longer and would improve the game.
A group of professors representing universities across the United States recently announced the formation of a coalition to fight for the labor rights of student athletes.
The College Athletes Rights and Empowerment Faculty Coalition released a statement explaining its decision.
“Contrary to concerns expressed by those who seek to maintain the existing business model of college sport, acknowledging that college football and men’s basketball players are employees will not have a detrimental impact on their educational interests. Denying employee status to these athletes serves the industry, not the athletes. The systemic limitations on their voice in the workplace prevent athletes from proposing salutary changes for the industry and, at the same time, impede their academic success.”