Surely those networks where NCAA grabbed around a billion dollars in rights fees – and marketers who spent tens of millions of dollars on those networks to gain big TV opportunities -- have seen the value.
But what about the college players themselves? Nada. Zip.
In fact, the five-year-old Ed O’Bannon case against the NCAA is starting up again, with oral arguments for the NCAA’s appeal of a federal judge’s decision to allow college players to be compensated.
Traditionalists want college athletics to maintain its so-called amateur status as long as it can. Of course, TV viewers know the score -- that top-performing college athletes who only spend one or two years in college before going professional will make many millions.
Many traditionalists might still wonder why people are moaning that college athletes also want to get a piece of that billion or so TV dollars that go to individual colleges through the NCAA.
Perhaps we should look deeper, beyond those select few top-end athletes that will be quick multimillionaires to those average players who will have little chance of making career-defining paydays. Many are not talking up these athletes making big career money, but more modest compensation in the form of a “trust fund,” for example.
Still, you can’t imagine much of this O’Bannon case discussion will be bandied on-air during March Madness on CBS or Turner. This kind of money doesn’t have starting-player qualities; it will instead stay on the end of the bench.