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March Madness is Upon Us
By DrTed 3_11_2013
March madness is upon us. Being a Kentuckian, I can only mean the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament. Being a true-blue Kansas University Jayhawk, March madness was my favorite time of the year. That was during my carefree youth.
Now as I am further down life’s road, the NCAA tournament has lost its magical appeal. I will still watch the final game and maybe one or two others during the tournament’s run. I will, however, watch these games with a different set of eyes than I did in years gone by. I now view them as a gross exploitation of the worker—the basketball player.
To see this exploitation, we must check the financial scoreboard concerning the NCAA tournament:
Ø $10.8 billion to the NCAA - from CBS and Turner Broadcasting for the rights to broadcast the tournament from 2011 to 2014, which equates to over 3/4 of a billion dollars per year.
Ø 738 million to companies’ advertising - during the 2010-2011 tournament, with automakers, insurance companies, and restaurants being the top three advertisers.
Ø $202 million distributed in 2012 - to the different NCAA Division 1 conferences. This money comes from NCAA’s Basketball Fund.
Ø $ 24. 9 million distributed by the NCAA to the Big East Conference - in 2010-2011, which came to approximately $1.5 million per team in the conference. (This figure represents the largest distribution to a conference. NCAA calculates this distribution based upon a complex formula that includes performance in previous seasons.)
Ø $9.5 million - can go to a Division 1 conference for each team that makes the “Final Four.” (This figure is also an estimate based upon the NCAA formula.)
Ø $5,272,608.00 - that the Big East Conference earned by its members’ performance in the 2011 Tournament. (This dollar amount was the most money earned by any conference for that year’s tournament.)
March college basketball madness also includes revenues for conference tournaments that each conference (except the Ivy League) conducts prior to the NCAA tournament. The Southeast Conference, for example, receives - $4.9 million per year from CBS - for the rights to broadcast its men's basketball tournament. Add in the receipts from attendance to this tournament, we are talking about, at least, $10 million per year in revenues for this tournament.
In a fair and just world, the players would share in a school’s profits. However, the players receive not one cent for their efforts in these tournaments. A handful of players may receive indirect financial benefits by receiving big money contracts from NBA teams. Nearly all college players do receive indirect financial benefits in the form of a college scholarship. The worth of these scholarships vary from $10,000 a year for public universities to $40,000 a year for private universities, which are paltry sums as compared to the take by a university’s athletic program.
Dennis A. Johnson - has recently proposed to rectify this injustice through an incentive program for the “student-athletes.” He advocates that coaches share 25%-50% of their performance bonuses with the players. - John Calipari, - for example, made approximately $700,000 for his team winning the 2012 Tournament. Each member of the University of Kentucky’s national championship team, according to Johnson’s formula, would have received between $12,000 and $24,000 for their efforts.
The upcoming basketball tournaments are true economic madness. They represent the exploitation of the many for the enjoyment and profits of the few. Perhaps these tournaments are so popular because they are a metaphor for contemporary American society.
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