College system exploits amateurism!

I have had issues over many years with the NCAA. They are headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, and they answer to no one. They run college athletics, and the millions and billions of dollars generated annually are earned on the backs of amateur athletes.

The recent scandal that hit college basketball brought down one of the biggest names in college basketball history, Louisville’s Rick Pitino. This should be a lesson to all that the NCAA gives all the authority and power in college athletics to the coaches.

It varies in football, but it’s the head coaches who make the really big money, four to six million dollar contracts per year. And the players are all amateurs, student athletes; the four-year scholarship rides are the rewards or compensation for the players. But that’s where the exploitation of the athlete begins.

The athletic programs are built to generate revenue from donors, alumni, ticket and game sales, and marketing of sports apparel — hats, shirts, jerseys, etc. There is also the sale and marketing of games on radio and network TV. This is pure exploitation managed by a corrupt NCAA with no oversight.

The stronger the school’s brand and athletic programs, the larger the following. The sports organizations like FOX, ESPN, Turner, Learfield Sports and others build their businesses around the conferences and bowl games and tournaments, and before you know it they are generating hundreds of millions of dollars on the major sports like baseball, football and basketball. This concept works and has for many decades because the schools never have to worry about unions or labor costs.

In professional sports, the team owners place values on franchises. Then rich owners buy in, and that allows each organization the chance to succeed. Each league has a talent pool of players and athletes that comes from the college draft and free agency. The Pitino scandal was created by coaches doing shoe deals with players who project to be stars or high draft picks after one, maybe two years of school and who have contracts with the shoe company agents.

The contracts that the sports shoe companies make with the schools always go through the head coaches. The players never see any of the shoe contract money until they become professional players.

The coaches get the compensation from the shoe companies because the NCAA does not allow amateur athletes to receive funds. Only the member schools and their coaches and the NCAA can benefit from the generation of revenue from games, gifts, tickets, shoes and other apparel, etc.

In recent weeks Georgia Tech and UCLA made huge financial deals with China to stage games in China and expose the programs to Chinese culture. Three UCLA basketball players were arrested and charged with shoplifting.

As bad as that is to have three American players caught stealing in a communist country, both schools after the games decided to leave the players accused of shoplifting in China, abandoning them to the hands of Chinese authorities. This exposes why this system of corruption is out of control and wrong and has to stop. It took President Donald Trump, who just happened to be in China at the time, to intervene.


Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to, or visit