Let the Madness Commence !

Today the NCAA men’s basketball championships begin, also known as March Madness (which is interesting because it ends well into April). Money will be wagered by the billions all in the name of a game being played by “unpaid” players.

The NCAA is possibly one of the biggest sports businesses going, as it’s players effectively have no salary and are paid “scholarships” to attend school, however, they do not share in the huge spoils of their work (the NCAA and the playing schools split  a large pot of money from CBS, TBS and other networks). The amount spent on scholarships is closely monitored, and if players are caught taking money “under the table” are disciplined quickly by the schools (who would lose NCAA accreditation and funds if found out).

All of this may change soon, as Ed O’Bannon a former player for the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team is suing the NCAA and the case is going to trial . Mr. O’Bannon is fighting to be compensated for the NCAA selling his likeness (and/or profiting from it) specifically with EA Sports. This should make for a very interesting case, to see how the NCAA argues their rights as “Lord and Master” over the players in their leagues.

The NCAA is also fighting on another front as a group of players are attempting to Unionize the “Student” Athletes as well (the NCAA suddenly claims to be a scholarly organization only concerned about education in this case).

All of this to point out that while you are watching all these fine “student athletes”, remember, most of these kids won’t make dime one on any of this. Very few will make the NBA, more may play in Europe, but most will leave school (according to this article for basketball players the graduation rate is 70%) and do something else, with only memories of their glory days (and no cash in their pockets).

The coaches that you see prowling the sidelines however, their pockets, are full of cash. According to this article the average salary of the coaches that made the final 68 in 2012 was $1.4 Million. Holy cow! Yes, these men (and one day maybe women, I hope) are excellent tacticians, motivators, and hopefully teachers, but when you are making $1.4 M and your players are living a student’s life that is an amazing discrepancy.

Athletic Directors (the Coach’s bosses) on a larger cross-section earned (in 2009) on average about $324,779 according to Bloomberg and this article.  That is nothing to sniff at either (and due to the size of the sample many smaller schools were counted to lower the average).

All of this to say, enjoy the Basketball, it is an amazing spectacle, and for a Basketball Loon like me, it is very close to Nirvana, but remember you are watching young men, who won’t be cashing in.



I still blame the Refs (especially NFL Replacement Refs)

After watching the debacle in the NFL Monday Night Game, one might think I still agree with I blame the refs and this instance I think I do, but in general the job done by most officials is just fine.

The NFL replacement ref catastrophe is about the same as if you were to use my blog as your investing authority. I get some things right, but I am certainly no authority, and if you asked me a direct question (and could actually get me to answer) you most likely would get some less than stellar advice. On Monday night we saw what happens when Management assumes that all workers are interchangeable, where the NFL is assuming that their officials (who are incredibly closely scrutinized) can be replaced by High School

Officials (since the University and College officials refused to act as scabs for the games).

A Call that will live in Infamy

Making the assumption in life that: I don’t need an expert’s advice on this, I’ll just ask Big Cajun Man or my Uncle Fred for advice, is very dangerous. Yes, you might get good free advice, but it is not very likely. Deal with a trusted professional if you are building a house, or in any other instance like that. Are all experts always correct? Nope, that is why you need to find someone who others trust (i.e. people who are trusted by people who you trust) to get expert advice.

What might happen if you don’t? You might have an Interception called a Touchdown, causing $250M  worth of bets to change on one very badly officiated play.

Oh and Roger Goodell and Gary Bettman are both ruining their businesses for the sake of wanting to be right (IMHO). You are helping Conan O’Brien get some good material mind you:


When Millionaires Strike

So with the NBA strike you start to wonder, who is really losing money on this deal? I think the players are losing a little, the owners are losing a little more (but they are trying to make a point, so they are to blame for this one), but as pointed out in the short from PBS, it is the small businesses that rely on having a team around that are really losing money.

When the hockey strike happened, I wondered what the point was, and with this strike I really wonder what the point of it is? I realize the players want to keep their rights, the owners want to make money, but between the two groups they are making Billions of dollars (total) off playing a game, can they not just figure that out and go back to it? Yes, I am nowhere near talented enough to even clean the floors at an NBA game, but as a consumer of their product (well I was when I was younger, not so much any more) I really have to wonder what exactly is the point that is being made here?

Get back to playing, and figure out who gets the millions off the court guys.

Remember the 2011 NBA Lock Out ? Good Times


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 not much, and the TV income keeps growing every year, 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 have 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 a huge 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. Should be interesting to see if Ed O’Bannon’s lawsuit proceeds and succeeds.


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