Add this wrinkle: College basketball players compensated for playing on their teams -- if not also securing TV sponsorship deals.
NCAA executives recently met with the Justice Department’s antitrust chief to discuss its plan to change rules that prevent student-athletes from profiting on their names, sources told CNBC.
Basketball is a big deal for colleges.
While the NCAA rakes in $1 billion from all its sports rights, Division 1 basketball brings in 75% of that money for some 1,000 schools. Participating colleges can pull in tens of millions of dollars from TV deals by way of the NCAA; many college basketball coaches have million-dollar contracts.
College basketball players? Not so much.
In 2010, the NCAA signed a 14-year, $10.8 billion contract with CBS Sports and Turner for the March Madness tournament. The deal was extended in April 2016 for an additional $8.8 billion that will keep the tournament on through 2032.
Years from now, what will those NCAA contracts look like? Not just the big March Madness tournament, but also regular season college basketball packages with specific TV networks.
Right now, money from those NCAA TV deals is set. Is that where money for potential paid college athletes will come from?
This all comes as California became the first state to pass a law that overrode the NCAA, granting college athletes the right to paid endorsement deals and agents. Ohio, Colorado, Florida and Illinois are looking to follow. The California law goes into effect 2023.
And now you know why the NCAA has to come up with a plan. Critics claim the college group disregarded anti-trust concerns and suggest the NCAA is engaging in price fixing.
Many college athletes -- who are also students -- need jobs to survive. A huge percentage of college athletes will never have a professional sports contract, or those high-profile millions that go to pro athletes. This doesn’t count the many athletes who sustain life-altering injuries.
What would the 2024 NCAA Tournament look like on screen -- with potential college basketball stars as paying athletes? Probably not much different. But commercials may have a different look. You may see your favorite athlete appear in TV commercials for Toyota, Hulu, Verizon, or Geico in some states.