We’ve seen the headlines about the corruption in men’s college basketball. The FBI is involved and people have been arrested. Coaches have been fired and the resounding reaction has been:
“Tell us something new. We all knew it was going on!”
The public reaction and overwhelming talk from the “experts” on talk sports radio has been:
1. This is proof that the rules are too antiquated and need to be changed.
2. These athletes are bringing billions of dollars into the NCAA and deserve to be paid.
3. If players get paid then there will be less cheating because athletes will not need money so badly – yeah right!!
4. The NCAA is corrupt and should be abolished.
So, why should softball people be paying attention? If basketball and football players are going to be paid, that money will have to come from somewhere, right? Where do you think that money will come from?
The NCAA does take in billions of dollars for the broadcast rights to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. March Madness is the golden goose that pays the bills. But there seems to be a perception that the NCAA takes this money and squirrels it away somewhere to keep these poor athletes poor and hungry.
The truth is that the NCAA uses a great deal of that money to support all the other sports and their championships. When a softball team makes the NCAA tournament, they are given financial support from the NCAA. Now the big schools don’t really need the support, they have plenty of money already, but the smaller schools do.
Remember the NCAA isn’t just Division I. They also pay for the championships is Division II and Division III. So when a small school with limited funds has that amazing thrill of qualifying for the NCAA tournament, they know there will be financial support to make it possible for them to make that trip.
Without the NCAA there would be no championships in softball, soccer, field hockey, wrestling and on and on the list goes!
How do I know? Because I coached at schools in Division I and Division II where there was no money left in the budget to support a trip to the NCAA tournament. We needed the NCAA money to allow us to enjoy the amazing accomplishment of winning our conference tournament and play in the NCAA tournament.
So every time you hear someone talk about the poor basketball players who are being taken advantage of, keep this in mind. When they start getting paid something is going to change and I’m pretty sure we are not going to like it. Pay attention!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.