March Madness begins Tuesday. Northeastern, Harvard and Providence College are all in the big dance. And, as is well-known, NCAA basketball is big money for many schools — especially those with lucrative TV contracts. But, as is also well known, the players themselves hardly see any of that money.
Northwestern University's football team voted to unionize as professionals nearly a year ago, saying team members were essentially employees of the university, given their strict 40-50 hours a week of dedicated football time.
And in January, the five most prominent conferences in the NCAA voted 79-1 to cover the full cost of attendance for some student athletes — reversing a 1975 decision. That's not only the traditional tuition, room, board and books, but also incidental costs like transportation and miscellaneous personal expenses.
The sole opposing voice in the vote came from Boston College, a Division I school with 31 varsity sports.
- "After hours of discussion and months of anticipation, the five most prominent conferences passed a great deal of legislation, including a measure allowing colleges to increase the value of a scholarship by a few thousand dollars to cover the federally determined cost of attendance. The result of the ballot among the 80 delegates — one representing each of the 65 universities in the five conferences as well as three athletes from each of those conferences — was 79-1. Boston College was the lone dissenter."
- "And last week, a federal judge hearing his case issued a ruling that is poised to upset college athletics as we know it. The judge said athletes like O’Bannon are entitled to a share of the billions of dollars that their sports generate."