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Money & Student Athletes

The commercialization of NCAA Division I college sports, especially the big-paying sports of football and basketball, dramatically increased over the past two decades. The biggest reason for this is the enormous sums paid to Division I schools to gain broadcast rights to football and basketball games. As Singletary (2004) argues, ôThe money swirling around in big-time college sports is nearly overwhelming. The successful relationships crafter with broadcast and cable television networks for game rights have yielded contracts worth billionsö (2). Schools like Michigan and Penn State have built enormous stadiums seating more than 100,000 people and top post-season college football bowl games bring payouts to NCAA I divisions of millions of dollars. Adding to these lucrative contracts and opportunities are merchandising rights, which due to the Internet have dramatically increased the profitability for colleges and universities with big-time sports programs. The same is true for college basketball programs. Whirty (2003) reports that the CBS broadcast contract for television rights to March Madness (the basketball playoffs) will net the NCAA $545 million a year through 2014 (54). Despite the commercialization of college sports, athletes are prohibited from making any money off the games aside from their scholarships or grants.

The NCAA is definitely exploiting college athletes. Video games like College Game Day only show the number of the players appearing on them, so athletes cannot claim a percentage of profits like they could if their names were used. Athletes are also exploited because of the enormous pressure put on them to perform in light of such lucrative profitability for winning schools. As one professor who regularly teaches athletes maintains, ôThe inherent pressure for athletic achievement denies thousands of student-athletes any real chance for successö (Whirty 2003, 51). Despite makin


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