NCAA March Madness generates over $1 billion in advertising revenue but ironically the players never see a dime. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver explains that it’s against the rules to pay so-called student athletes, a term that was coined specifically to avoid paying athletes workman’s comp when they get injured.
One of the justifications is that most schools don’t make a profit from their athletic programs but that’s only because they spend the money like it was Brewster’s Millions to maintain their non-profit status. The ten largest football stadiums belong to colleges including Michigan University, which touts its stadium as ranking as the fourth largest city in the state on game day. Schools have no qualms about giving lavish salaries to official employees. Clemson Tigers’ Head Coach Dabo Swinney is paid an exorbitant salary of over $3 million. Swinney insists he’ll quit if schools start paying student athletes.
“There’s enough entitlement in this world as it is,” he said in an interview.
The coach has legally trademarked his name for merchandising but it might not sell well after it was pointed out that Dabo Swinney is an anagram for “soybean wind.” Oliver suggested people voice their distaste for him by using the hashtag #SoybeanWind.
Students athletes, on the other hand, receive no income from merchandising even when their likeness are used in the popular video games series NCAA Basketball by EA Sports.
Last Week Tonight developed their own truly authentic game called March Sadness 2015, which is rated E for exploitative. It allows gamers to experience the glamorous lives of college basketball players. Spend all your time training and playing then bolster your GPA with paper classes only to graduate with no education and just a 2% chance of getting drafted by the NBA. It received a resounding endorsement by NCCA champion Ed O’Bannon, whose likeness was used without his knowledge in NCAA Basketball 09.
“This game is every bit as fucked up as the real thing,” O’Bannon declared.