The March Madness of exploitation of college basketball players continues and that will all lead to Houston on April 4th with the Men’s College Basketball Finals. Never missing an opportunity to make money which is not shared with the people who are the show, the players, one of the last parts of that night’s telecast will feature the winning coach and the players from the winning team climbing up a ladder and cutting down the nets. But this isn’t any ordinary ladder, this is a special order just made for net cutting after the championship game. The NCAA is going to make money from a ladder company in what is now little more than a staged celebration. Net cutting sponsored by a ladder company.
There are a number of things that could be done to reverse the exploitation of the college basketball players. Congress could strip the NCAA of a tax exemption. For instance, football teams and the conferences which house those teams going to bowl games could be forced to pay tax on proceeds from bowl games. Then Congress could strip the NCAA from the 1961 Sports Broadcast Act and its amendments which allows sports leagues and the so-called the governing body of amateur college sports the National Collegiate Athletic Association to sell their product, college sports games, as one to a television network or networks or the conferences to sell the conference product as one to various multi systems operators in cable or satellite TV such as the Big 10 network or the SEC. Even when the athletes seek federal help, such as the Northwestern football players who wanted to unionize, the National Labor Relations Board said no and actually cited the balance of college power as a reason. College sports is all about money except for the players who get nothing. But college basketball players could walk up a special ladder to cut down a net while the NCAA gets the ladder companies cash.
Republished with permission Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business.