The NCPA partnered with the Drexel University Department of Sport Management to publish a study entitled "TV Money Windfall in Big Time College Sports" which reveals that five major athletic conferences and the NCAA are receiving an average of approximately $784 million in new revenue thanks to recently signed TV contracts. Co-authored by NCPA President Ramogi Huma and Drexel Sport Management professor Ellen Staurowsky, the study calls on the NCAA and college presidents to invest a portion of these new revenues in providing players basic protections, increasing graduation rates among football and basketball players, and decreasing high-profile NCAA violations. Players have begun to echo this call with a petition that they have sent to the NCAA.
The petition was signed by football and basketball players from five schools. Revenue-generating athletes from Arizona, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Purdue, and UCLA began mailing the signed petitions to NCAA President Mark Ememrt last week. Drafted prior to the completion of the TV revenue study, the petition calls on the NCAA to adopt reforms at its October Board meeting:
“We the undersigned student-athletes are hereby calling on the NCAA and college presidents to use a portion of the $775 million in new TV revenues to increase graduation rates, decrease NCAA violations, and provide basic protections. This would include:
- Dividing a portion of new TV revenues evenly among FBS football players and Division I men’s basketball players. This money would go into an educational lockbox (a trust fund) that we can receive if we abide by NCAA rules and graduate, or to pursue our undergraduate degree when our eligibility expires. This would increase our graduation rates and decrease violations.
- Raising our scholarships equal to the cost of attendance so our schools can fully support our education – an average increase of approximately $3200/year per full scholarship athlete.
- Allowing our schools the option to prioritize our education by providing multi-year scholarships.
- Preventing permanently injured players from losing their scholarships.
- Ensuring we are not stuck with sports-related medical expenses.
These are some of many solutions that can finally allow the NCAA to realize its mission to educate and protect us with integrity. Any Title IX requirements related to the above reforms can and should also be funded with new TV revenues. We endorse the NCPA’s call for comprehensive reform to occur in October.”
Purdue quarterback Rob Henry is recovering from knee surgery to repair a torn ACL suffered just before the start of this football season. He stated, “I have been very fortunate with my situation and Purdue paying for everything. I know there are cases in which players at other schools don’t have the same fortune, and this is morally wrong.” Henry gathered his teammates’ signatures on the petition and said they were surprised to learn about how much new money was being generated. He said, “Everyone on my team was astonished. They were very supportive of the petition, and have been very inquisitive about reform since they signed the petition. It’s amazing how little players knew about the financial situation of the NCAA before our scholarship shortfall and TV revenue studies.”
UCLA football player Jeff Locke, who circulated the petition among his teammates and the basketball team, is concerned that the NCAA might delay important reforms. He stated, "As almost $800 million in new TV revenue streams into college football next year alone, it is important that we address these issues surrounding college athletics immediately. If the NCAA pushes back these issues, the schools will find other ways to spend this money, whether it is put into new facilities or to increase coaches salaries, and the players will not be able to receive the basic protections they need from the billions they help generate."
Arizona wide receiver David Roberts stated, "I felt that it was important that the student-athletes who make up the core of NCAA have their voices heard, which is why I brought the petition to the attention of my teammates. I, along with those who signed the petition, hope that more will be done to benefit future student-athletes that make many sacrifices to be successful on and off the field; but their finances should not be a part of those sacrifices. My teammates and I hope to welcome better protections that will provide a proper experience for student-athletes."
Kentucky cornerback Anthony Mosely who gathered signatures from his teammates stated, “I felt it was important for the petition to be circulated because of the information it held in its contents. The players should know the details that deal with their collegiate future. We as players put so much time, energy, and pride into what we represent. To be under-supported within the NCAA given all of the new money that we’re generating for our schools is just horrible.”