Yes. Athletes Getting Robbed Every March Is Madness
Also known as the NCAA Tournament or “March Madness” but when you tune in, also understand the extreme need for decentralization with the billions of dollars being generated on the backs of athletes while not being shared with them as the creators of these riches.
For many athletes (99%) there will be no professional sports or a career to be made in athletics. Their prime is right now. They are capable of generating the most revenue (and some even life changing amounts) right now yet this prime revenue generating window is being stolen from them.
Their profile is the most visible and on the largest stage, and yet most won’t reap any benefits for them whatsoever. Sure they may get a goodie bag, and some other benefits but lets not insult these athletes nor ourselves by mentioning these alongside the BILLIONS of dollars of revenue they are being excluded from.
Even in a down year during covid, the NCAA still made plenty of money. We’ve often written about why it’s time to share, but this week the spotlight is on seeing it in action. TV contracts, coach contracts, and revenue splitting with leagues is mirroring those of professional sports leagues.
Solution: Because criticism without offering a solution is a waste of everyone’s time.
Athletes need the ability to collectively work together to combat exploitation and create leverage for change. (also the reason why I founded JRZY.)
The beauty of the game of chess is our ability to view our opponent’s pieces and predict their moves based upon our pieces and position. It’s transparent and requires players to be honest in their moves. The problem with the NCAA is that the athletes are being honest but the NCAA isn’t.
The NCAA’s excuses are just a distraction, the truth is their chess pieces are hidden and athletes can’t clearly understand the power they possess. If athletes did and were able to use it to project what the NCAA’s response would be, they’d quickly move and make the decision to demand change.
A collective that allows athletes to understand their social capital, and predict outcomes based upon their actions. Athletes need to understand their own chess pieces and understand the results of any potential moves they make.
Hint: Owning 100% of a resource that’s not replaceable gives you quite a bit of power and leverage over decisions.
This burden cannot entirely be on athletes, it’s on the NCAA. The NCAA knows they can share revenue the pot is too big not to), but will never do it unless their bluff is called. Athletes are the only way for this bluff to be called.
Coaches could have a large impact here too, but they are already getting rich and the NCAA would foreseeably strike up a conflict of interest by pitting coaches against athletes by claiming their share would be negatively impacted by sharing.
It’s an extreme burden to put on athletes to ask them to call this bluff since they would be sacrificing their dreams during many of their primes. To make enough players comfortable, they’d need to know they were guaranteed to prevail. The NCAA knows this and has bet that athletes will never cross this line giving them the ability to heavily prey on this weakness.
A stoppage in play before a season (instead of before the tournament even if the tournament would be most effective) would quickly bring the NCAA to the table just as NIL action forced immediate change. The NCAA folded before the world could observe the reality that they weren’t going to suspend every player and destroy their money machine.
Just as they were never going to suspend all of their athletes (or an entire state) they’d be losing out on billions if they did so which defeats the purpose of this whole game.
The NCAA wouldn't dare to leave billions on the table, neither should athletes.