While we can and should look at the shortfalls some student-athletes fail because of already existing financial need, a recent USA Today analysis suggests that the average DI basketball player, for example, is already earning $120k per year in benefits for the right to play ball and earn a degree.
A lot of the things included in the $120K are flat out stupid. It counts things like sneakers towards that figure. Would a chemical handler count chemical aprons and gloves provided as personal income?
The article does a fair job of rebutting some of the nonsensical claims, such as medical care:
Lawyer Kessler scoffs at this. "(Colleges) keep (players) healthy while they're on the team," he says. "It's just to keep them playing."
The most salient points of the article:
Zimbalist, author of a book about college sports finances titled Unpaid Professionals, contends that a typical big-time men's basketball player's compensation should be calculated simply: tuition multiplied by the men's nationwide basketball graduation rate, which, according to NCAA data, is 66%. Then, add room and board value.
That would total less than $20,000 a year at most schools.
Lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, whose clients include the NFL Players Association and other sports labor unions, says, "I think it's very hard to make the case that these athletes are getting a fair shake."
And of course this:
For most programs, their men's basketball player payrolls are a cheap date.
Everything from coaching, medical care, tutoring, work uniforms (ohh! sneakers!) are all beneficial to the university in that it makes sure the players are eligible and able to play at their best. Therefore, it all benefits the university to the tune multi-million dollar TV contracts and millions in other revenue every year.
Meanwhile, Jim Delaney is comish of the most profitable conference in the country. That money is all going back to support the student athlete, right? Right? What? It's not? It's just a tax-free shelter for people like Delaney to reap millions.