Nearly two weeks ago, over 700 men and women signed on to play in the largest post-season tournament in professional sports, or should I say, amateur sports. The athletes in March Madness, the post-season basketball tournament, practice multiple times per day, all year round, and even on the weekends. When they aren’t busy between practice and traveling around the country, they are watching film to make themselves even better. That sounds a lot like a professional athlete to me. The only thing that isn’t professional about their lives is their pay check. The networks that host March Madness rake in millions of dollars through commercials. The schools rake in money through merchandise and ticket sales. The athletes rake in, well, nothing. Other than experience and exposure, these athletes aren’t allowed to make any money or even accept rewards for their accomplishments. The money generated by March Madness rivals the money earned from the post season of nearly every professional sports league in the world. At $613 million, the NCAA is earning over 40 percent more ad revenue than the entire NBA playoffs and over 60 percent more ad revenue than the entire post season for Major League Baseball. Given that professional basketball and baseball players bring home millions to their families every year, one has to wonder: What is the NCAA doing with all that money? The money doesn't disappear just because the players' families don't get it. Instead, we see coaches signing blockbuster deals worth tens of millions of dollars. It's time to let the players have a piece of the pie. You can't possibly convince me that head coach Gene Chizik was worth more to Auburn’s championship football than their quarterback Cam Newton. Plus, kids in Alabama aren't buying Chizik jerseys from the university. Still, we somehow expect that a kid from the inner city should be happy with a scholarship. The truth is that almost none of us would accept a scholarship over a job...
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