I really don’t care for sports.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my Lobos, but hear me out.
Student-athletes lay it all on the line for a chance to make professional sports their career. Some of them make it, but most of them do not. If we look to the numbers, it seems that only one party is guaranteed to profit from this relationship: the NCAA and their partners.
For example, according to the NCAA’s estimated probability of competing in professional sports, out of the 18,684 student-athletes playing men’s basketball in 2017, 4,152 were draft eligible. There were 60 draft spots open, and only 44 players were drafted — making the probability of being drafted pro from NCAA men's basketball 1.1 percent.
If the employment rate for college graduates was 1.1 percent, would people still go to school?
I get that athletics help a lot of students who otherwise may not have been able to afford school. Scholarships are great for students, and athletic scholarships are some of the best, but at what point do sports stop paying for school, and school starts paying for the sports?
Board of Regents President Rob Doughty, recently suggested that UNM forgive the $4.7 million deficit held by the athletics department. According to the most recent available information from the NCAA, revenue was at a modest $797 million per year in 2012.
Most of that revenue comes from a 14-year broadcast rights contract, signed in 2010, with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting to the tune of $10.8 billion. This allows CBS and Turner rights to broadcast games on television, like last year’s game against the University of Arizona Wildcats.
CBS and Turner are seeing a modest return on their deal, with last year’s annual championship tournament, March Madness, selling over $1.2 billion in advertising, according to a report by Kantar Media. The NCAA, CBS Sports and Turner must be happy with its deal, as the companies have already begun inking an extension to the current contract, which does not expire until 2024.
That is only the advertising dollars. It does not include ticket sales, merchandising or the various other revenue streams made possible by the thousands of unpaid NCAA athletes. Our very own hardworking Lobos contribute to that revenue stream, unpaid.
While UNM debates the future of athletics spending, and a $4.7 million debt, NCAA, CBS, Turner and other interests are stuffing their pockets. It won’t take long for the debate to end with another unrelated department facing cuts so that UNM can continue to support the NCAA.
So what do you think NCAA, make it yours?
Christian Marquez is the multimedia editor for the Daily Lobo. The views in this column are his own. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @chrstn_marquez.