March Madness kicks off this week, and it seems like everyone involved is making the big bucks. Except for the players.
The NCAA is projected to earn about 1 billion dollars this year in TV rights for the men’s basketball tournament alone. But players get no money, only the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat.
North Carolina Congressman Mark Walker says that’s just not fair and has introduced a bill that would allow NCAA athletes to profit from the use of their names and pictures.
Under current NCAA rules, student-athletes receive scholarships but stand to lose their eligibility if they sign endorsement deals.
Walker says his bill would change that and provide income to star players, as well as those who won’t ever play professionally.
However, some educators say benefits should be strictly tied to education.
“There are only a handful of schools that are profiting,” said Lisa Delpy Neirotti, a Sports Management Professor at George Washington University. “The majority are losing money.”
Supporters of the bill say it provides opportunity for students while opponents say only a small number of players would benefit.