The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament made $900 million in revenue in the 2018-19 season. After the cancellation of the tournament last year, and the conditions players must go through playing during a pandemic you might expect great conditions for unpaid student-athletes.
Maybe, the latest Call of Duty game? Virtual Among us Tournaments? Something to keep players entertained and safe during a pandemic at least. If not those small conveniences, definitely fantastic food from a chef that will keep players motivated and well-nourished. five-star food for world-class athletes helping you make hundreds of millions.
That would make sense but the NCAA apparently doesn’t see it that way. Players were met with unfulfilled expectations as lunch was an uninspiring boxed lunch. That or fast food the players had to order themselves. A harsh reality compared to the pragmatic expectation of salmon filets. Consequently, the NCAA immediately faced backlash from players on Twitter for the unfair conditions the athletes felt they met.
Student-Athletes Thoughts on Tournament Conditions
Think you can definitely be grateful to play this game while also understanding there’s more that should be on the table. Players ISOLATED entire year to help make this tournament happen. NCAA: rewarded w/ $900 million. Players: rewarded w/ free deodorant and small boxed meals. https://t.co/vb9BPGeBkH
— Geo Baker (@Geo_Baker_1) March 16, 2021
Hopefully, it was at least solid deodorant and not the gel deodorant. The Twitter #NotNCAAProperty trended as student-athletes led the charge criticizing the NCAA about a name, likeness, and image. Athletes, fans and reporters came together to share their sentiment.
I find it CRAZY how people who make billions of dollars off of US athletes can tell us whether or not we should get paid for who WE are. Who are you to tell me how and when to make money? But you can make money off of US???? Come on now, that’s just not right‼️ #NotNCAAProperty
— Jordan “Jelly” Walker (@jellyfam_j) March 17, 2021
I went to college on an academic scholarship
WashU still paid me to run student programming that was deemed vital to the student experience, school culture, and recruiting.
Athletes should be paid too.
Hell they should be paid more because they bring in money https://t.co/jdUSIUNP4q
— Hamilton Cook (@hamiltoncook) March 17, 2021
The NCAA has used the word amateurism to remain one of the most exploitative industries in the entire country. #NotNCAAProperty
— Seth Towns (@219setty) March 17, 2021
Not Just Cold Pizza
The NCAA could now be facing major changes. Bills have been introduced to help the athletes control their name, image and likeness. Some states have already passed this legislation and federal bills have also been introduced. Transfer rules may be changed. Athletes may be able to make money off of their name, image and likeness that will not go to the NCAA.
It is clear; the players want to play, but at least some of them want reform in the sport and more say on how their names and images are used.