HBO Real Sports to Expose the NCAA

by March 30, 2011

A very controversial topic over the years, regarding the NCAA, has been whether or not they should be paying the same student-athletes that have brought in billions of dollars of revenue into their pockets. The NCAA takes in annual revenues of more than $757,000,000, according to Real Sports. The overall college sports industry generates billions annually. From TV rights fees, to merchandising and ticket sales, big-time football and basketball programs and everyone else involved in the business are cashing in on the star players, except the main attractions themselves.  

And so Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel will be airing a one-hour special tonight covering the state of college sports in America. Winners of 21 Sports Emmys in 15 years, the show will feature a roundtable panel with Billy Packer, Rich Rodriguez, Jason Whitlock and Jeff Orleans.

Aside from the roundtable, the program will also document a few former student-athletes and their whereabouts, analyzing how they got to their currents jobs and their feeling about not receiving a single dime from the millions they made for their programs.

Our friends at HBO sent us a copy of this very intriguing and controversial one-hour special. And without giving away too much, we thought it would be cool to give our readers a sneak peak of some of the ways in which this must-see broadcast journalism flick exposes the NCAA:   

There are two segments that will lead to the roundtable discussion. The segments feature Tyrone Prothro, a former wide receiver at the University of Alabama, Ed O’Bannon – former UCLA basketball star, and Rigo Nunez – former UMass basketball standout.

Prothro suffered fractures on both major bones as a junior in 2005, and is now working as a bank teller just down the block from the same stadium where he once starred. According to the show, the University of Alabama’s football program made $125 million in his three years with the Crimson Tide. But not a penny was or has ever been given to him.

Ed O’Bannon starred at UCLA, and in 1995 he was named the country’s college basketball player of the year and the NCAA’s Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player. He even played in the NBA for a couple of seasons. But he now works at Findlay Toyota in Las Vegas as a car-dealer. Looking back and feeling “short-changed” by the NCAA, he has decided to take matters into his own hand and filed a lawsuit against the NCAA.  He states that if the NCAA could make money off him, then he should also be getting compensated. Two-dozen other former student-athletes have joined in on the fight against the NCAA since.

Aside from digging into the former player’s lives, the documentary goes on to examine the NCAA’s 2009 Tax filings. In it, they discovered that fourteen top-tier executives made an average salary of $425,000. The top official for the Sugar Bowl made over $645,000. The University of Georgia, who won that year, was awarded over 18 million dollars.

According to the findings by Real Sports, after reviewing some of the scholarship contracts student-athletes must sign, students must waive their rights. At some schools, the contracts clearly states “forever and throughout the universe,” speaking of the length they’ve waived their rights.

So in other words, the sneaker companies, the athletic programs, the coaches, the media companies, the NCAA executives and all the corporate sponsors are cashing in, but what about the players?

That’s exactly where the Real Sports roundtable discussion comes in and some answers and solutions are sought. Don’t miss it tonight, exclusively on HBO, at 10:00 p.m. (ET). A can’t-miss special for any sports fan. For more information, you can visit their official website