NCAA and Its Discontents

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

As "March Madness" gets underway, Steve Wieberg, USA Today sports reporter, looks at the state of college athletics and calls for reform at the NCAA.


Steve Wieberg

Comments [16]

Aaron from Brooklyn

Brian, interesting segment on NCAA and pay for athletes. A big part of this that gets missed if that if they're good enough to be paid, why not just be professional? why should universities professionalize these athletes instead of pro leagues? The NBA and NFL need to take some blame for the current system since they have woefully lacking development programs, and have essentially outsourced professional development to the colleges. And, with age restrictions for entering the leagues, we're basically forcing professionals to be amateurs for an extended period of time instead of allowing them to make money at their trade. We don't complain if someone wants to be a mechanic, a graphic designer, or any host of other skilled professions.

Instead of paying athletes in college, they should remain amateurs and we should instead look at professionalizing the sports much more like a european football (soccer) model wit teams investing in younger talent development and kids that are good enough to be paid for what they do can get compensated for it.

Mar. 13 2012 02:18 PM
Dr. Wayne Johnson from Bk

Professor Lapchick pointed out(on NPR's "Tell Me More") yesterday that black student athletes have much lower graduation rates than their white counterparts. The overall graduation rates of the participants in this years Men's basketball tourney are terrible and for the African-American players even worse.

Mar. 13 2012 12:14 PM
Katie from New York, NY

The discussion about player compensation is missing the perspective of the NCAA athlete that does not play division 1. I am a former Division 3 athlete (walk-on) who played two sports. I understand division differences, but the implications for direct player compensation in Division 1 may only further feed the extremes between the divisions and turn Division 1 into a borderline professional league. NCAA manages three divisions with 24 sports. The discussion failed to cross the threshold to the greater issues and was somewhat myopic.

Mar. 13 2012 11:53 AM
Lex from NYC

These athletes don't need to get paid. Tuition, free food, accolades and getting the chance to get all this just for living out their passion is enough pay. Such a bourgeois debate.

Mar. 13 2012 11:51 AM
JT from LI

I also remember reading that the coaches make millions by signing the sneaker deal for the team. Everyone makes money off these kids.

Mar. 13 2012 11:47 AM
Cesar from Manhattan

Why not use some money in the name of excellent college sports players to support their secondary school educational programs or other academic scholarships?

Mar. 13 2012 11:46 AM
Mary R from NJ

All work produced by a student in school is owned by the school. This applies to academics and artwork. Why should that be any different for athletes, especially if they get a free ride to school?

Mar. 13 2012 11:46 AM
e stone from Westchester ny

I think college athletes should get nothing or get paid. College athletics should either return to being a "sport" (my preference) or consider themselves professional which basically they now are. How about saving the scholarships and perks for the academic stars?? Players' reward is the scouting situation and the chance for recruitment of professional ball.

Mar. 13 2012 11:46 AM
John from NYC

Frontline on PBS had a program on this topic. It appears it was televised on March 2011.

Frontline: Money and March Madness

Since the salaries for coaches are highly inflated as are other expenses for college athletics, maybe there should be salary caps for these employees as the National Football League Teams have salary caps. Maybe there should be expense caps for each College Athletic program. Why do these coaches in many cases for State Universities earn the highest salary of any state employee?

Mar. 13 2012 11:45 AM
JT from LI

One big problem I have with the NCAA is that it owns the image and name of the athletes. They make millions off merchandise featuring the athlete's names and off licensing their names for use in video games.

Mar. 13 2012 11:43 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

Totally disagree with the last caller; coaches and staff of college sports teams get paid because they are paid faculty members of a college or university. Would these people work for free any more than a math professor would? Student athletes are just that - students. The problem is there is too much money being spent on college athletics at the expense of academia, and at the expense of rising tuition. Paying student athletes is not a solution. If they're good enough to make it to the majors, they will be more than fairly compensated for their time and abilities. Think of it as being similar to an "internship" the rest of the student body would be expected to do to get experience in their field.

Mar. 13 2012 11:41 AM
Rick Karr

Don't forget that the Knight Commission has demonstrated that 90-plus percent of college athletics programs require subsidies, either from student fees/tuition or taxpayers/endownments. At some state schools, it's hundreds of dollars per student per semester.

Mar. 13 2012 11:40 AM

To measure the economic benefit of sports to colleges, shouldn't we also count the alumni fundraising impact, in addition to television contracts? Has this been measured?

Mar. 13 2012 11:39 AM
CL from NYC

Nearly all of the arguments swirling around this issue are nonsensical. Let's be honest and simply do away with the academic sham associated with athletics at the college level. Sure, go ahead and pay the athletes, but do away with the requirement that they actually enroll in classes or "study" for a degree. Then they can be more transparently what they, by and large, already are: revenue-bearing mascots for their institutions.

Mar. 13 2012 11:38 AM
Tom from UWS

Some of these players are being trained for careers that will earn them tens of millions of dollars or more. If they're going to be paid, maybe it should come from the pro leagues who will snatch up this talent once it's matured.

Mar. 13 2012 11:35 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Missed the first few minutes, but ask him about the "one and done" rule. It's a joke. Kids should have the freedom to go straight to the pros from high school. One mandatory year spent as a "student" on campus is naive and a sham. The rest of the world doesn't have this regulation in soccer and other sports.

Mar. 13 2012 11:35 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.