I’ve made the case before that student-athletes are performing unpaid labor. That is, U.S. colleges and universities produce and sell athletic performances—especially, but not only, football and basketball games—that are produced by student-athletes who are not paid anything for their labor.
The question then is, who’s benefiting from that unpaid labor? It’s certainly not the professors who teach at those schools (nor, for that matter, the staff who keep the academic programs and infrastructure running). Faculty members are not making anywhere near what the athletic coaches do, and their salary increases have lagged far behind the amount of money being paid to coaches in recent years.
And much more money is being spent on athletic programs—although clearly not in the form of pay to the players—than on academic programs.
So, where are all those revenues from the athletic program going? As it turns out, the single biggest outlay—more than a third—is for coaches’ salaries.
Apparently, according to a recent article on the Huffington Post [ht: ja], that’s the reason so many coaches are opposed to paying college athletes for their labor.
“Schools quite often move around or spend money to basically get rid of excess revenue — what would be called profit in a profit-making corporation,” said Michael Leeds, a professor of economics at Temple University. “‘[That’s why] you have several coaches [in the NCAA] getting paid NFL money, despite working for an enterprise that really does not match what the New England Patriots and the New York Giants take in.”
That would explain why some universities end up with state-of-the-art sports facilities. Or why Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski makes nearly $10 million per year, much more than the typical NBA coach. Or why in so many states, the best-paid public employee is a basketball or football coach. . .
“The coaches very likely are very upset over [the prospect of] players being paid because, for one thing, that means a pay cut for them,” Leeds said.