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Game Time Profits are Over: The NCAA May Have to Pay
By: Emory Brown
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Video gamers and sports fans worldwide unite! Our beloved college sports teams are on the verge of making history as former NCAA player Ed O’Bannon champions the cause to have big college sports stars and players receive compensation for the their likenesses and names being used in the creation of video games, memorabilia, and even broadcast sports deals. As he said, “College athletes who generate revenue deserve a cut.” And I think he’s right. If you’re shooting the big shots, you deserve a big check.

As a result of college athletes and their commitment to their teams, the NCAA has become a multi-billion dollar business. A business that recruits talent and pays them in scholarships, of which many players don’t take full advantage in many cases because some of these young athletes don’t buckle down and make the most of their opportunity to receive a first-rate education, as Bryant Gumbel reported in a look into the lives of former college players who are now broke after leaving the NCAA as superstars. These same players’ faces and names canvas best-selling video games and fan memorabilia. NCAA’s football and basketball games sell for $59.00 to $89.00 retail and EA Sports sells millions of copies per year. So let’s focus on one game title that costs 59 bucks with 2 million in sales…that’s 118 million dollars, and players don’t make one dime. Plus there’s a resale market for these video games, so in many cases most games have a pass-a-long rate of three to four times. Touchdown for “team profit”!

Nevertheless, the NCAA is building a case to defend its “cash cow” by stating that amateur sports players shouldn’t be compensated in any way. Yet, as we know, agents and interested professional teams have begged to differ for years as laws had to be put in place keep players from receiving gifts or monetary tokens of appreciation while they are student athletes. The NCAA believes that a scholarship is enough compensation for the years of training and hard work to be able to perform at a level that has millions of Americans glued to their couches and making bar owners crazy profits during college playoffs. I have to agree with Ed O’Bannon; college sports is big business and the star employees are getting the short end of the stick. The NCAA's revenues have skyrocketed in recent years — it recently signed a $10.8 billion, 14-year television deal for basketball. I think it takes some very talented players to make that happen. Who do you know that will pay $10.8 billion dollars to put some lackluster talent on television? Right! You don’t!

Ed O'Bannon was the star of the NCAA 1995 basketball championship UCLA Bruins team. And since that time there have been plenty of college players who’ve shared in the limelight as the NCAA reaped profits hand over fist. Now it’s time to pass the check to the guys who pass the ball.


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About the Author
Emory Brown is an award-winning creative director/writer whose mission is to spread the gospel of what great marketers can do when they put their heads together and work together for the greater good and not the bottom line. Working with many esteemed clients, his portfolio of work ranges in genre from conservative to ultra-modern including American Family Insurance, United Airlines, Mazda 6 and RX-8, Illinois Lottery, Tyson, Miller Genuine Draft, Nike Air Force 1, and Mercedes Benz, to name a few.  
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