The Atlantic Coast Conference has a new TV contract worth $1.86 billion over 12 years. The Southeastern Conference is benefiting from a $3 billion TV deal that runs for 15 years. The Big Ten is looking to expand in hopes of increasing its annual payout to league teams past the $22 million mark. The NCAA just negotiated a 14-year, $10.8 billion deal for TV rights to March Madness.
Everybody is making money on college athletics these days. Everybody, that is, but the athletes.
Yes, athletes get a free education, but the NCAA and its business partners continue to make money off the players' images and likenesses long after they have completed their eligibility.
Oregon junior tight end David Paulson, in a piece for CNBC's Sports Biz, says the exploitation must end.
"When that 18-year-old arrives on campus he signs his rights away to the NCAA because he is given no choice or legal guidance. This gives the NCAA and the companies they license to an opportunity to make millions of dollars. After a college athlete plays four or five years and helps make millions of dollars for the NCAA through licensing deals, then it would seem logical that the player should get his publicity rights back because he is no longer a member of the NCAA."
"However, the NCAA does not release the rights to the former players."
Paulson believes a class-action lawsuit filed last year has a strong chance to end the NCAA's practice.
"At the end of the day if it is too much to ask to let college players have their publicity rights at least give us our rights back to us when we are done playing."