On the bright side, the national championship he's probably going to win this year will mean nothing, eventually.
And these savvy coaches have built into their contracts that even if they fail or break the rules, the money will keep rolling in.
Of course not all Division I coaches have it that easy. Some have to get creative to squeeze extra money out of an athletic program. For instance, by participating in "buy games." For those not familiar with the practice, in a sort of perverse athletic pimp/prostitution dynamic, players are sent to get their asses handed to them by much better teams so coaches can benefit financially from their guaranteed losses.
Basically, the almost-guaranteed-to-lose school benefits by having a big name show up at their arena, thus drawing thousands of extra fans to witness a brutal beating. The larger school benefits because the smaller school is paying them for this privilege. So, everybody wins! Well, except for the fact that, as always ...
The Student-Athlete Gets The Short End of The Stick
Student-athletes that compete at the tournament level are basically working a high-stress, strenuous full-time job. As noted in the 2013 documentary Schooled: The Price of College Sports, their situation is not that dissimilar to indentured servitude. They meet all the criteria to be considered employees of their schools, and while other students performing work for the school receive a paycheck, the athletes get none.
In addition, unlike the coaches with their built in golden parachutes, most student-athletes have no guarantees they can keep their scholarships beyond a single year. While the NCAA finally started allowing multiple-year scholarships back in 2011, schools are not required to award them and it's still not a popular practice. This means most student athletes can be booted for disappointing "participation expectations" on the playing field to make room for a better player. They also better not get injured or they might be out the cost of the medical expenses as well.
You're allowed to keep your practice jersey if you exit the building before security arrives.
The sad truth is, 98% of these athletes bringing glory and financial gain to the school, won't go on to the pros and completely miss out on any opportunity to benefit from their fleeting celebrity.
What's the bigger upset? Duke going down in the second round or finding out that after four years of higher education you're only qualified to work at a crappy rental car company?
But the NCAA stranglehold on the purse strings may be loosening. The recent Ed O'Bannon trial was a win for the student-athlete. O'Bannon, a retired college basketball player, argued that students should be compensated for their work on the field and the licensing of their images. The NCAA countered with some pretty tenuous reasoning why athletes shouldn't be paid, including testimony from NCAA President Emmert that paying athletes would "hurt traditions like tailgaiting."
Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images
This needs to be preserved, people.
This past August, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken was unswayed by the preservation of tailgating and ruled that the NCAA "unreasonably restrain trade" and was in violation of antitrust laws. This decision opened up the possibility of college athletes being paid by the NCAA and being compensated for use of their likenesses. However, the NCAA can still set rules governing eligibility and has the power to keep athletes from signing endorsement deals, so don't expect things to get much better anytime soon.
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