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March Madness Really About Frenzy for Money

By Tom McMillen |

From USA Today

by Tom McMillen

The NCAA scored big: a $6-billion television contract, which finances the NCAA and participating athletic programs. In addition, universities ponied up another $4 billion for new facilities during the past few years, even though the majority of athletic programs lost money. And 40-plus coaches hit the jackpot with $1-million- plus annual salaries.

In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court, in the landmark decision NCAA vs. Oklahoma, stripped the NCAA of its monopoly power over broadcasting rights to college athletic events. Justice [Byron White], in his dissent against the decision, supported the NCAA’s right to monopoly power. White argued that the NCAA monopoly “fosters the goal of amateurism by spreading revenues among various schools and reducing the financial incentives toward professionalism.”

* Monies would be distributed by the NCAA based upon academic values — such as gender equity, academic counseling, academic performance, diversity of sports programs — not on commercial values such as winning or losing. Under a radically revised revenue- distribution program, a single NCAA men’s basketball tournament game victory would no longer generate $780,000 for the winning team.

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Filed under: Opinion

Tom McMillen

Tom McMillen