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The Business of Student Sports

I wrote this piece about the business of student sports a while ago, as a reaction to Ed O’Bannon and other NCAA athletes, suing the NCAA for using their images for their own profit. The NCAA is a business where their main “talent” gets paid little, and the TV income keeps growing yearly. Too bad you can’t invest in it.

I must admit that I am a sports fanatic, I have been known to spend entire weekends watching various sports and sometimes any sports. As my kids got older, I helped out with sports as best I can and it has been a lot of fun, in the end. Over the years my taste for professional sports has dropped, and I have started watching more and more University Sports (in Canada the CIS and in the U.S. the NCAA).

Since I watched Joe Montana play in the Cotton Bowl in the 70’s the business of “Amateur” Student Sports has become an enormous business, and I tend to read many different articles on how much money is being made off the backs of the student-athletes.

Our friends at PBS on their Frontline show has put out a very interesting piece on the business of the NCAA, that if you are a fan of March Madness, the BCS bowl system or any other Student based athletic spectacle, you should watch.

What is very interesting is 24 hours after the Frontline piece was on the NCAA President reversed his ground and is now talking about compensating student-athletes more. It should be interesting to see if Ed O’Bannon’s lawsuit proceeds and succeeds.

Addendum: The case did go forward, and this is the ramifications.

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Feel Free to Comment

  1. Great video. I don’t know too much about the CIS situation, but I definitely believe the current NCAA system is beyond broken.

  2. I work in University Athletics and it’s amazing to see the disparity between the CIS and NCAA in terms of money and support. Much like the rest of Canadian sport, there’s just no way we could pull in a TV revenue deal even worth 1% of what they have down there.

    And a successful athletics fund raiser brings in about $100k here, not $100 million.

    Although I hear Carleton might be raising some money to re-instate their football program. Football is one sport that does bring in a bit of donor support in CIS.

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