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The Madness Starts Today

A player runs across the NCAA logo during practice in Pittsburgh before an NCAA tournament basketball game in 2012. Photo: Keith Srakocic / Associated Press

It is Selection Sunday, where the learned college basketball people figure out who are the best basketball teams in the country, slot them and send them off to both near and far away places around the United States in a tournament that brings hundreds of millions of dollars into the college basketball industry.

But how does college basketball get away with horrible behavior and remain popular? There is an FBI investigation and 10 were arrested on industry corruption charges in the past year. The answer? It is fluff entertainment that people like.

It is this time of year where the coaches, the athletic directors and the players earn their paychecks with the pressure mounting in each game to the ultimate prize. The National Championship Game which will be played on April 2 in a football stadium in San Antonio. The NCAA puts the tournament up for bidding with cities coming in with the best financial package getting the games.

So the student-athletes must be getting a big pay day for providing entertainment for people and playing for a title? They aren’t. The coaches are getting big paychecks and television is handing out big money to the NCAA. The athletes get nothing but a college scholarship. The television partners will do some profiles on some athletes but the coaches are the stars of the TV show even though they don’t play, and really have very little control of the game.

There is some sort of justification that the players are getting a free education, that is partially true, but they are not getting everything paid and they are on a year to year contract. They could be fired for various reasons. The term “student-athlete” is a cover to get out of paying and providing health care for the talent. Everyone makes money off the basketball tournaments but the stars of the show, the players don’t. It’s madness.

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.


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