Pocket Protection (Compensating College Athletes)

Episode 39 · April 24th, 2019 · 54 mins 29 secs

About this Episode

In a report by Chris Smith, Forbes lists Texas A&M University's football program as the most profitable in the 2014-2016 seasons. Its three-year average for revenue across those seasons was $148 million. Its three-year average for profit was $107 million. It was the leader of the pack, but far from alone. The 10th most profitable program (at the University of Florida) was listed at $67 million in profit. The 25th (Texas Tech's) was listed at $31 million in profit. Through broadcast licensing and other revenue streams, many NCAA programs generate immense revenue, particularly programs in the so-called Power Five conferences (the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC). Additionally, head coaches at many of these programs are highly paid, such as Alabama's Nick Saban, whose base salary for 2019 was reported to be $7.9 million.

Given the amount of money generated in Power Five college football (and also NCAA Division I men's basketball), and the compensation afforded many coaches, some observers have called for greater financial compensation for the athletes. But others object. And these battles sometimes go to the courts, as in the recent Alston v. NCAA decision. I discuss these issues with Rick Karcher, an associate professor in the Eastern Michigan University School of Health Promotion & Human Performance.

--Rick Karcher's Eastern Michigan University profile
--"Why the NCAA Lost Its Latest Landmark Case in the Battle Over What Schools Can Offer Athletes," by Michael McCann in Sports Illustrated
--O'Bannon v. NCAA (Wikipedia)
--"The Battle Outside of the Courtroom: Principles of Amateurism vs. Principles of Supply and Demand," by Karcher (2013)
--"The Coaching Carousel in Big-Time Intercollegiate Athletics: Economic Implications and Legal Considerations," by Karcher (2010)
--"The Influence of Race on Attitudes About College Athletics," by Druckman, Howat, and Rodheim (2016)
--Wikipedia entry on adhesion contracts
--The Historical Basketball League